Max Malins the big casualty as England cut squad to 28 for France

Max Malins was the biggest casualty when Eddie Jones cut his England squad from 34 t0 28 on Tuesday afternoon ahead of this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations final away to the Grand Slam-chasing France. The winger had started all four of his team’s games so far in this year’s championship but he has now been dropped following last Saturday’s four-try loss to Ireland.

It was early Monday when the England coach named the initial squad of 34 for two days’ training at Pennyhill. The omission of the hamstrung Tom Curry, the red-carded Charlie Ewels and Bevan Rodd – and the recall of Jack Willis 13 months after his horrible knee injury – were the changes from the squad of 36 named at the start of the round four matchweek versus Ireland.

That match was lost 32-15, leaving England fans fearing another Six Nations campaign that could finish with their team losing more matches than it wins as it heads to Paris having been beaten by Scotland and the Irish and with wins over Italy and Wales.

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Back in the Game – RFU

Now Jones has confirmed the 28 players that will travel to France on Tuesday, well in advance of next Saturday’s game where another damaging loss could potentially spell the end of the Australian’s long tenure in charge of England.

Of the six players omitted from the squad of 28 for Paris, Malins was the biggest absentee as he had started six of the seven England Test games in 2021/22 and had worn the No14 shirt against Ireland. There was no mention in the England squad update of an injury, so the Saracens player was unceremoniously dropped by Jones.

The other five players who haven’t made the cut to travel were hooker Jamie Blamire, back-rower Willis, scrum-half Alex Mitchell, out-half Orlando Bailey and winger Ollie Hassell-Collins. A week ago, the ten players omitted when the squad was cut after two days’ training were: Nic Dolly, Nick Isiekwe, Rodd and Underhill from the forwards and Bailey, George Furbank, Hassell-Collins, Mitchell, Louis Lynagh (out with a virus that Monday) and Luke Northmore.

The latest RFU statement read: “Eddie Jones has retained a 28-player squad to travel to Paris for England’s Six Nations match against France this weekend.”

ENGLAND SQUAD OF 28 (vs France, Saturday)
FORWARDS (16)
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps, uncapped)
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Nic Dolly (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 8 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 35 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 65 caps)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 55 caps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 6 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 70 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 92 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 78 caps)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 13 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 51 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 19 caps)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 27 caps)

BACKS (12)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 56 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 80 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Louis Lynagh (Harlequins, uncapped)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 11 caps)
Luke Northmore (Harlequins, uncapped)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 38 caps)
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 5 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 47 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 9 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 116 caps)

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