Six Leicester Tigers players have been named in England’s official Rugby World Cup training squad.
Dan Cole, George Ford, Ellis Genge, Jonny May, Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs are all named in the 35-man selection by national coach Eddie Jones and will gather in London on Sunday for their first official training camp.
Premiership finalists Luke Cowan-Dickie, Owen Farrell, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Ben Moon, Henry Slade, Ben Spencer, Harry Williams and Billy Vunipola return to the England set-up following their off-season.
Harlequins prop Joe Marler is also included after making himself available for selection. The 29-year-old retired from international rugby in September 2018 after 59 Tests.
Jones has included four uncapped players in the group. Gloucester’s scrum-half Willi Heinz is joined by former England Under-20s forward Lewis Ludlam, former England Sevens player Ruaridh McConnochie and Saracens’ new signing Jack Singleton.
While not named in the initial 35-man squad, George Kruis, Jack Nowell and Mako Vunipola 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 [Premiership] 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 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.”
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)