SAM SIMMONDS has ruled himself out of the World Cup as boss Steve Borthwick started preparing for the tournament.
The No.8 was missing from a 28-man training squad announced by Borthwick which met in Bagshot.
Steve Borthwick has named his squad[/caption]
And Zach Mercer, the back rower, who moves to Gloucester from Montpellier next season and has not been capped for four years is also back in the mix.
He will move from Exeter to replace Mercer at Montpellier this summer instead of after France 2023.
That leaves Mercer, Alex Dombrandt and Billy Vunipola as the main contenders for the No.8 spot and Vunipola will be in camp to rehab a knee injury.
Bath’s Ted Hill and Ben Spencer are also back along with Ollie Hassell-Collins and London Irish trio Henry Arundell, Tom Pearson and Will Joseph, who are all on the job hunt after Irish’s collapse.
Borthwick could not pick anyone who made the play-offs, because of the RFU’s five-week rest rule, so Saracens, Sale, Leicester and Northampton stars were off limits.
Joe Launchbury, back from Japan, has a minor injury and was not considered whilst Luke Cowan-Dickie and Ollie Chessum will join Vunipola with the medics.
Borthwick is set to add Premiership semi-finalists in a re-jigged party next Monday.