Wasps duo Joe Launchbury and Brad Shields have been named in Eddie Jones’ 35-man training squad for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
The players will assemble at The Lensbury Hotel on Sunday 7 July for their first official training camp.
Premiership finalists Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Jamie George (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs) and Billy Vunipola (Saracens) return to the England setup following their off-season.
Joe Marler (Harlequins) is named after making himself available for selection. The 29-year-old prop retired from international rugby in September 2018 having played 59 Tests for England.
Jones has included four uncapped players in the group. Gloucester Rugby’s half-back and captain Willi Heinz is joined by former England Under 20s forward Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), former England Sevens player and Olympic silver medallist Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby) and Saracens’ new signing Jack Singleton.
While not named in the initial 35-man squad, George Kruis (Saracens), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) and Mako Vunipola (Saracens) will continue their rehabilitation in camp and are still considered for selection.
Jones said: “We can’t wait to have the full squad in place and to have players competing for those 31 places. It is a process of building the team up, building the cohesion, the tactical understanding of the team and our adaptability. We will need to get those things right to win the World Cup, and that is our aim.”
On his selection decisions Jones said: “World Cup selection is a four-year process. We have looked at the squad carefully, tried to build up a squad that has enough experience, attitude and energy to be winners and I think we have that. In the process, we have left out some players who can feel unlucky. For those guys who have missed out, the door is never closed but they have just got to be ready, as you never know when the opportunity comes.”
Following two weeks of England training camps, Jones added: “The last two camps have been a head start for us. It has allowed the guys who didn’t play in the semi-finals or final to get some good conditioning work in and also some fundamental skill work so we expect them to set a high standard when the rest of the squad join us on July 7.
"The players have come in the best physical condition I have ever seen an England squad. The attitude of the players is that they are excited and hungry, they want to do well for themselves, their family and for their country."
On Marler’s decision to come out of international retirement, Jones added: “I saw Joe during the Barbarians’ week and he indicated that he had a desire to come back. We have since had a couple of chats and we have given him the opportunity to do that. Now it is up to him to show us what he has got.”
With England’s first official training camp starting on Sunday, Jones said: “For the fans it is the start of the journey so we want you to be with us; we are all in this together. We are looking forward to seeing your support.”
England will play Wales (Sunday 11 August) and Ireland (Saturday 24 August) at Twickenham Stadium and Italy (Friday 6 September) in Newcastle as part of the Quilter Internationals as well as an away fixture against Wales (Saturday 17 August) in Cardiff.
England will travel to Treviso, Italy for a heat camp from July 22 until August 2 before returning to Italy on August 28 until September 5. The squad will also be based in Bristol for a week in July (14-18) and in August (12-16) ahead of England’s away match against Wales. For the two matches against Wales and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, the squad will train at Pennyhill Park.
England will begin their Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan against Tonga in Sapporo (Sunday 22 September, KO 11:15am UK time) before playing USA Rugby in Kobe (Thursday 26 September, KO 11:45am UK time), Argentina in Tokyo (Saturday 5 October, KO 09:00am UK time) and our last pool opponents France in Yokohama (Saturday 12 October, KO 09:15am UK time).
England’s official Rugby World Cup 2019 training squad
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 11 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 10 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 58 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 71 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 59 caps)
Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 8 caps)
Brad Shields (Wasps, 8 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)
Jack Singleton (Saracens, uncapped)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 9 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 41 caps)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps)
Mark Wilson (Sale Sharks, 13 caps)
Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby, 16 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 30 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 40 caps)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)
Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)
Ben Spencer (Saracens, 3 caps)
Ben Te’o (unattached, 18 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 33 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 85 caps)
In camp for rehabilitation
George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps)