Uncapped Randall and Odogwu in England squad for Six Nations

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Premiership Semi Final - Wasps v Bristol Bears - Ricoh Arena, Coventry, Britain - October 10, 2020 Bristol Bears' Harry Randall scores a try Action Images/Andrew Boyers

LONDON (Reuters) – England’s exciting uncapped duo of Bristol scrumhalf Harry Randall and Wasps wing/centre Paolo Odogwu were the eye-catching names among a 28-man Six Nations squad named by coach Eddie Jones on Friday, but there was no place for Kyle Sinckler.

Randall, who is also qualified to represent Wales, has been in sparkling form during Bristol’s bright start to the Premiership season and will vie with Dan Robson to back up regular number nine Ben Youngs.

Odogwu, who scored two tries in a man-of-the-match performance against Bath two weeks ago, is another now “claimed” for the red rose having been eligible to play for Italy through his father.

A third uncapped player, Bath prop Ben Obano, was also included.

Bristol prop Sinckler was suspended for England’s opening game against Scotland on Feb. 6 after swearing at the referee in a club game but would have been available for the rest of the tournament.

Jones was non-committal about whether Sinckler would return for the second game, despite not including him in a “shadow squad”.

Jones was forced to limit his squad to less than his usual 30-plus names and will have fewer training days because of COVID-19 restrictions related to players moving back and forth between the England camp and their clubs.

As a result he has also named a shadow squad of 12 that mostly comprises inexperienced or uncapped players who will follow the England COVID protocols, although Bath pair Jonathan Joseph and Charlie Ewels both feature.

Last season’s Premiership player of the year Jack Willis of Wasps is also in the shadow squad after being pipped by Ben Earl for a slot in the main group. Exeter’s in-form number eight Sam Simmonds did not make either group.

Having spent most of the last four years refusing to pick three scrumhalves in his training squads, Jones has now gone for a trio in the smaller group, having found it impossible to ignore the sparky inventiveness of 23-year-old Randall.

“We’ve been watching Harry for a long time now, at least two seasons,” said the Australian, who is in isolation after assistant coach Matt Proudfoot tested positive for COVID-19.

“He continues to develop his game and his running and his initiative in attack is the thing that’s really caught the eye. He’ll put pressure on Benny Youngs and Dan Robson, which is a good thing, but it’s not so much the youth, it’s the quality of his play that’s the key thing for us.”

Odogwu’s versatility earned him a somewhat unexpected call-up.

“He’s got power, got a bit of an X-factor. He has the ability to beat people, he’s got a good sense for the line,” said Jones. “We’re looking for another centre or winger who has that and he’s been consistently dynamic in being able to break lines.”

England will meet up at the national football team’s training base at St George’s Park in the Midlands on Jan. 27 to begin their build-up to the opening game of their Six Nations title defence at home to the Scots.

Full Squad

Backs Elliot Daly (Saracens, 47 caps)Owen Farrell (Saracens, 88 caps)George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 72 caps)Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 3 caps)Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 61 caps)Paolo Odogwu (Wasps, uncapped)Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, uncapped)Dan Robson (Wasps, 7 caps)Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 34 caps)Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 46 caps)Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 104 caps)

Forwards Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 26 caps)Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 28 caps)Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 8 caps)Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 23 caps)Jamie George (Saracens, 54 caps)Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 4 caps)Maro Itoje (Saracens, 43 caps)Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 69 caps)Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 85 caps)Joe Marler (Harlequins, 72 caps)Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, uncapped)Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 8 caps)Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 22 caps)Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 56 caps)Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 19 caps)

Shadow squad Charlie Atkinson (Wasps, uncapped)Ali Crossdale (Saracens, uncapped)Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 17 caps)George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 54 caps)Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 4 caps)George Martin (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, uncapped)Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)Jack Willis (Wasps, 2 caps)

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