Manu Tuilagi has been dropped by Steve Borthwick as the head coach named a revamped side for England’s Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland.
Tuilagi, a veteran of 50 caps and a regular choice for the Red Rose for much of the past decade, has not even been named in Borthwick’s first 23-man squad.
Joe Marchant takes the 31-year-old’s place in the England line-up, with Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell to resume their playmaking axis for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham.
Wing Ollie Hassell-Collins has been handed his first cap in a rejigged midfield following injuries to Elliot Daly, Henry Slade and Dan Kelly in the build-up to Saturday’s fixture.
Ben Curry will be awarded his first cap against major opposition following his debut in an underwhelming victory over the United States nearly two years ago.
Lewis Ludlam joins Curry as the other flanker, with Alex Dombrandt at number eight, while Jamie George starts at hooker after overcoming concussion sustained in Saracens’ defeat by Edinburgh on January 22nd.
Borthwick said: “There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld Enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup.
“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world. There is no doubt that this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.
“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.”
England team: Steward (Leicester); Malins (Saracens, Marchant (Harlequins, 13 caps), Farrell (Saracens, capt), Hassell-Collins (London Irish); Smith (Harlequins), Van Poortvliet (Leicester); Genge (Bristol), George (Saracens), Sinckler (Bristol), Itoje (Saracens), Chessum (Leicester), Ludlam (Northampton), Curry (Sale), Dombrandt (Harlequins).
Replacements: Walker (Harlequins), Vunipola (Saracens), Cole (Leicester), Isiekwe (Saracens), Earl (Saracens), Youngs (Leicester), Lawrence (Bath), Watson (Leicester).