Eddie Jones has called on a healthy mixture of experience and new blood after naming his 31-man squad for England’s Rugby World Cup campaign.
Captained by Owen Farrell, multiple Guinness Six Nations winners Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs will all feature at their third edition of the tournament.
In a group boasting more than 1,000 combined caps, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Jonny May and Jack Nowell are all included having become mainstays in the starting XV in recent years.
But while 17 of its number have all appeared in tournament, Jones – making his World Cup debut in England’s corner – has also given the nod to a plethora of newcomers.
The likes of Lewis Ludlam, Jack Singleton and Willi Heinz – who all starred in England’s 33-19 triumph over Wales at Twickenham on Sunday – have all impressed sufficiently to earn call-ups, while Ruaridh McConnochie is the only uncapped player in the squad.
With warm-up matches against Wales, Ireland and Italy still to come before England start their Japan adventure against Tonga on September 22, Jones acknowledged the intense competition for places that had characterised his decision.
“Today is another step in the progress towards the Rugby World Cup,” he said.
“We have taken the decision to go early because of what we learned from previous campaigns.
“We want the squad to know early and now we can get on and be the best prepared England side there has ever been, ready to win the World Cup.
“A lot of good players have missed out, we feel for them, I feel for them personally.
“But as we know the World Cup is an incredible tournament where opportunities can present themselves and all those players who have missed out have been told they have to be ready.”
England’s official Rugby World Cup squad
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps) **
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 11 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps) *
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps) *
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 59 caps) *
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 72 caps) **
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 58 caps) *
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)
Jack Singleton (Saracens, 1 cap)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 42 caps) *
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps) *
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons / Sale Sharks, 13 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 31 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps) *
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 56 caps) *
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 41 caps) *
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps) *
Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps) *
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps) *
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps) *
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 34 caps) *
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps) **
* Number of Rugby World Cup tournaments played