Two products of Whitgift’s English schools’ rugby cup-winning team, Elliot Daly and Marland Yarde, have been called up to the England squad ahead of next month’s Six Nations’ Championship.This was the first squad announcement by new England coach Eddie Jones.
Jones was appointed to replace Stuart Lancaster following England’s disappointing results at last autumn’s World Cup.
Yarde, 23, the Harlequins wing, won five caps under the previous coaching set-up but was not included in the final selection for the World Cup. Wasps centre Daly, also 23, has yet to claim his first full cap.
Another with strong Croydon connections, Chris Robshaw, the former Warlingham junior player, retains his place in the national squad, although it seems unlikely that he will remain the captain.
Although embarking on professional sports careers with different clubs, having worked through the academy system, Yarde and Daly know one another well: both were in the team which dominated schoolboy rugby for a couple of years, winning the then Daily Mail Cup finals at Twickenham in 2010 and 2011.Another past Daily Mail cup-winner at Whitgift, from an earlier generation, the mercurial fly-half Danny Cipriani was unlucky tomiss out on selection by England, and not for the first time.
The 2016 Six Nations tournament for England begins with the Calcutta Cup game against Scotland in Edinburgh on February 6.
In announcing his selections, Jones might have had Yarde and Daly in mind when he said, “The long-term strategy for England is to develop a side who can be the most dominant team in world rugby, so we have chosen a lot of new players on the growth we see in them.
“We see these players growing into England players of the future and developing into a side who can be the best in the world. Our aim is to develop a squad where there is depth and competition in every position.”
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