England name squad for Six Nations opener with Ireland
England have named their 35-man squad for the opening rounds of the Six Nations with Owen Farrell set to captain the side in the absence of Dylan Hartley.
The Northampton hooker misses the cut with a knee injury allowing Farrell to skipper Eddie Jones' side with England also calling on the uncapped quartet of Jack Singleton (Worcester), Ben Earl (Saracens), Ollie Thorley (Glouceser) and Dan Robson (Wasps).
Chris Robshaw, Sam Underhill, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson all miss out through injury, however, Jones will be able to welcome back Billy and Mako Vunipola, Joe Launchbury and Ellis Genge after each player recovered from their respective injuries.
"We're very happy with the squad," Jones told RFU TV.
"We've got a number of players coming back from long term injury to join the squad and we're looking forward to getting over to Portugal to have a 10-day camp before we prepare for Ireland.
"Guys like Joe Launchbury - we haven't see guys like him since South Africa - and he's come back and had a couple of good games for Wasps. Looks fit and he's an important guy for us and he's played over 50 tests.
"Billy played two good games for Sarries on the hop and we're delighted to have him back in the squad. We've got guys like Genge and Mako to come back into the squad. Genge is a good young prop and he'll certainly challenge Mako for his spot."
England squad for Ireland Test
Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ben Earl (Saracens) *, Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors) *, Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Owen Farrell (Saracens) captain, George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Robson (Wasps) *, Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby) *, Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)