England 2019 Six Nations squad: The winners and losers
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 18/01/19 8:52am
Eddie Jones confirmed his 35-man England squad for the 2019 Six Nations on Thursday, with several interesting calls in a host of areas and a return from injury for many.
But which players did well out of the latest squad, and who can count themselves as unlucky?
We take a look through the winners and losers from England's most recent panel below...
Winners: Eddie Jones, Ben Moon, Dan Cole
A standout winner in the prop department is actually head coach Jones, who has gone from having very little depth on the loosehead side, to now having the quality of both Mako Vunipola and Ellis Genge available for the Six Nations.
Even with those returns, Exeter's Ben Moon is selected again in a show of confidence after an impressive autumn, while on the tighthead side there is a recall for the experienced Dan Cole for the first time in a year - and he will compete with the in-form Kyle Sinckler and Exeter's Harry Williams for a Test shirt.
Loser: Alec Hepburn
The major loser to come out of the latest squad from a prop point of view is Chiefs loosehead Hepburn.
Having been first choice for his club and a near permanent fixture in England squads not so long ago, he misses out altogether in a World Cup year and will likely find it hard to break back in now - other than injuries permitting that is.
Winners: Jack Singleton, Luke Cowan-Dickie
At hooker, Worcester's Jack Singleton is a winner as one of four uncapped players named in the squad. Exeter's Luke Cowan-Dickie will also be pleased to be back in the mix, having missed out on the squad in November.
In the absence of skipper Dylan Hartley, Jamie George will look to finally make the No 2 jersey his own.
Loser: Dylan Hartley
Undoubtedly the loser from a hooker perspective, and headline news in the wider perspective of the whole squad too, is the injury-enforced absence of captain Hartley.
Advancing in years and with many having called for him to lose his starting place well before now, Hartley will hope that by the time he has fully recovered from his knee injury, the hooker slot will still be one which is open.
Hartley returned from concussion in November as co-captain with Owen Farrell, with the Saracens playmaker now set to lead England solo into the Six Nations.
It could be an uncomfortable watch for Hartley on the sidelines.
Winners: Joe Launchbury
Having only returned from his knee injury this month, Joe Launchbury is a winner in the second-row category - not because he does not possess the indubitable merits to be there - but because of his lack of game time so far this season.
With Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes and Launchbury all named in the squad, lock would appear a position in substantially rude health for Jones.
Losers: Charlie Ewels, Elliott Stooke, Nick Isiekwe
Bath pair Charlie Ewels and Elliott Stooke were both in the England squad for the autumn internationals, but neither have made the cut for the Six Nations.
Indeed, Ewels featured in all four November games against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia and will be particularly disappointed to miss out, while Stooke will remain uncapped having also been ignored this time around.
Ewels has been struggling with concussion over the last fortnight, but was left off the RFU's Players unavailable due to injury list within their squad release.
Saracens' Nick Isiekwe is another player omitted, having been subbed by Jones just 36 minutes into his first start for England against South Africa during the summer's opening Test and having missed the entire autumn with an ankle injury.
Winners: Jack Clifford, Ben Earl, Tom Curry, Brad Shields
In the back row, Harlequins' Jack Clifford is a major winner as he will look to earn just his second cap and his first in an England shirt since February 2017.
Saracens' uncapped Ben Earl has also earned a call-up having travelled with the national side to South Africa without picking up a cap in the summer and having missed out in November.
Sale's openside flanker Tom Curry - who has earned more turnovers than anyone in the Premiership this season - is a winner in the sense that having missed out on the majority of the autumn schedule due to injury, he would now appear to be a first-choice option again after the unfortunate injury to Bath's Sam Underhill.
Brad Shields is a winner too as, with Wasps in pretty rotten Premiership and European form and the flanker failing to stand out, Jones has chosen to keep faith with him ahead of a wealth of other options.
Losers: Sam Underhill, Michael Rhodes, Zach Mercer, Ben Morgan
Underhill is the big loser in the back-row stakes, as having performed so brilliantly for England in potentially emerging as their long-term answer to the openside conundrum in November, an ankle injury has ruled him out of the whole of the Six Nations.
After a clamour to include Saracens' South Africa-born Michael Rhodes in the England set-up for months, the flanker has now been overlooked for the Six Nations and remains uncapped in spite of previous squad involvements.
Despite catching the eye in November during his first two caps for England, Bath's Zach Mercer is another who has failed to make the cut, while Gloucester's Ben Morgan misses out too, with Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes back.
Winner: Dan Robson
With only four out-and-out half-backs selected in the squad - three of whom are regulars Owen Farrell, George Ford and Ben Youngs - the only big winner is uncapped Wasps scrum-half Dan Robson.
With Youngs and Robson the only two scrum-halves selected, the 26-year-old Wasps man is a near certainty to earn his first cap against Ireland in Dublin - provided he does not pick up an injury before then.
Losers: Danny Care, Richard Wigglesworth, Danny Cipriani
Quins' 84-cap Danny Care is a surprise exclusion at scrum-half, while Saracens' 35-year-old Richard Wigglesworth is left out too despite having featured in November and during last season's Six Nations.
And, once again, Gloucester's Danny Cipriani has failed to convince Jones he is good enough to make even an extended England squad.
He may have produced six try assists in the Premiership this season - only two players have come up with more - and dazzled on occasions, but his face just does not seem to fit at present.
Winner: Ollie Devoto
Exeter's Ollie Devoto is an inclusion nobody saw coming, with the 25-year-old having never started a Test for England and featured just once under Jones, back in May 2016.
How much of an opportunity he will be afforded will be interesting to note.
Losers: Alex Lozowski, Nick Tomkins
Saracens' Alex Lozowski will be bitterly disappointed to miss out entirely on the squad - particularly with Jonathan Joseph still out injured and there not being an abundance of options at 13.
Lozowski's club team-mate Nick Tomkins is also somewhat of a loser in the centres - not in the sense that he would have expected a maiden call-up, but in the sense that his name was discussed as a potential option in some quarters this week after some super form.
Winners: Ollie Thorley, Mike Brown
Gloucester's hard-running Ollie Thorley has been in fabulous form for the Cherry and Whites this season, and is fully deserving of his first selection in the squad.
Mike Brown also remains in the mix despite having not featured in any Test throughout November - the Quins full-back has thrown more offloads (16) than any player in the Premiership this season.
Losers: Nathan Earle, Alex Goode
Quins wing Nathan Earle was named in the autumn internationals squad, and has been in striking form for his club this season, scoring six tries (only three players have more) and making 800 metres (second most). Yet, he will remain uncapped for the time being having missed out.
And, in the case of another face who just does not seem to fit with Jones, Saracens full-back Alex Goode is again ignored despite his sensational performances this season.
The 30-year-old has been one of the best players in the country so far this season, making more metres (817m), beating more defenders (52) and producing more try assists (nine) than any other Premiership player.
But, he will have to keep on waiting to see if he ever gets another chance under the Australian.