Left to right: Billy Vunipola, Jonny May and Jack Nowell
Billy Vunipola (left), Jonny May (centre) and Jack Nowell (right) have played 180 Tests between them for England

Number eight Billy Vunipola has been left out of new head coach Steve Borthwick’s 36-man England squad for the Six Nations.

Other high-profile omissions include experienced wings Jonny May and Jack Nowell.

Meanwhile Borthwick has recalled 95-cap veteran prop Dan Cole, 35, who last played for England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

Northampton fly-half Fin Smith is one of five uncapped players in the squad.

London Irish wing Ollie Hassell-Collins, Gloucester hooker George McGuigan, and Harlequins pair Cadan Murley and Jack Walker are the four other new caps.

“This is an exciting squad, with a blend of Six Nations experience and young talent, and includes players who are in excellent form in the Premiership,” Borthwick said.

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England Six Nations squad

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, George McGuigan, Bevan Rodd, Sam Simmonds, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis.

Backs: Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Dan Kelly, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Alex Mitchell, Cadan Murley, Henry Slade, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Ben Youngs.

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Borthwick, who was appointed on 19 December after Eddie Jones was sacked following a run of five wins in 12 Tests in 2022, added: “We are all looking forward to the challenges of the Six Nations and we will approach this great tournament with a spirit of courage and total commitment.

“I know the players can’t wait to get back to Twickenham and give our fans a performance they can be proud of.

“The hard work for the Scotland game starts now.”

Borthwick confirmed Owen Farrell will be England’s captain for the tournament, with Ellis Genge and Courtney Lawes named as vice-captains.

The former Leicester head coach also says he has been told unequivocally by the RFU’s legal department that Farrell will be available for the opener against Scotland, despite the controversy over the terms of his suspension after he was cited for making contact with Gloucester forward Jack Clement’s head.

More to follow.

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