Denny Solomona included in England squad as Dylan Hartley leads 31-man side on tour of Argentina

Eddie Jones has named a 31-man squad which includes the rugby league convert as one of 15 uncapped players

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The Independent Online

Eddie Jones has named 15 uncapped players in his England squad to tour Argentina, with rugby league convert Denny Solomona handed his first call-up despite making just 13 rugby union appearances.

Jones is unable to call on the 16 England players that were called up to Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad on Wednesday, but snubbed hooker Dylan Hartley is included along with Joe Launchbury, who many had tipped to be heading to New Zealand rather than South America this summer.

Jones has also recalled flanker Chris Robshaw after the Harlequins back-row missed the entire Six Nations championship through injury, while other Lions hopefuls in James Haskell, Mike Brown and George Ford are also included.

The 31-man squad is almost half made up of uncapped players, the most notable of which are Bath-bound Sam Underhill, Sale’s Curry brothers Ben and Tom, and their teammate Solomona who has qualified to play for England on residency grounds, having represented Samoa in the 13-man code. The former Castleford Tigers league star has scored 10 tries in 13 games for Sale, and had previously been marked out by Jones as a potential England player for the future once he met the residency requirements, which he did so at the end of the Six Nations.

England Under-20 wing Joe Cokanasiga is handed a surprise call-up along with Northampton Saints’ new signing Piers Francis, though there while Jones has handed a number of maiden call-ups, there are also plenty of surprise omissions.

Bath’s Zach Mercer is not included despite leading England Under-20s to the Six Nations Grand Slam last month, while his club colleague Semesa Rokoduguni is not included, despite Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell and Elliot Daly all being called up to the Lions.

26-year-old Francis has agreed to join Saints from Super Rugby side the Blues, having grown up between England and New Zealand, and Premiership Rugby Limited have confirmed his eligibility to represent England ahead of his return to the country.

The rest of the uncapped contingent is made up of props Will Collier and Harry Williams, lock Nick Isiekwe, scrum-half Jack Maunder, fly-half Alex Lozowski, centres Sam James, Harry Mallinder and Joe Marchant and back-three utility man Nathan Earle.

Jones has made public that the tour against the Pumas will be the start of phase two of his four-year plan to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and the omissions will cause alarm among those who have not been included even when 16 first-team members are absent.

31-man England squad to tour Argentina:

Prop: Will Collier, Ellis Genge, Paul Hill, Matt Mullan, Harry Williams

Hooker: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dylan Hartley

Lock: Charlie Ewels, Nick Isiekwe, Joe Launchbury,

Flanker: Ben Curry, Tom Curry, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Sam Underhill, Tom Wood

No 8: Nathan Hughes

Scrum-half: Danny Care, Jack Maunder

Fly-half: George Ford, Piers Francis, Alex Lozowski

Centre: Sam James, Harry Mallinder, Joe Marchant, Henry Slade

Wing: Joe Cokanasiga, Nathan Earle, Jonny May, Denny Solomona

Full-back: Mike Brown