England World Cup squad lowdown… the fun facts you didn’t know

England World Cup squad lowdown… who spent his summer training with Arsenal and who used to be ranked No 1 in the world at Call of Duty?

  • England are preparing to head to Japan for the 2019 rugby World Cup
  • Eddie Jones’ men are among the favourites to win the biggest prize of all 
  • Sportsmail helps you get to know the England stars that little bit better 
  • One of the players hangs out with cricketers, while another trained at Arsenal 

As the countdown to the Japan World Cup gets ever shorter, players and fans alike are preparing for the action in Japan to get under way.

With a close-knit team of stars, Eddie Jones’ England enter the tournament as one of the favourites for glory.

But how well do you know the men of the Red Rose? Sportsmail gives you a closer insight…

Fun fact: Is good mates with World Cup-winning cricketers Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy, having gone to the same school as Sam Billings.

As well as mixing with fellow rugby players, Jamie George is pals with a host of cricket stars

LUKE COWAN-DICKIE

Fun fact: Was once ranked No 1 in the world at shoot-em-up video-game Call of Duty.

JACK SINGLETON

Fun fact: Nicknamed ‘English Breakfast’ by Eddie Jones due to his big appetite.

JOE MARLER

Fun fact: He is from the same town – Heathfield in Sussex – as singer Rag ‘n’ Bone Man.

MAKO VUNIPOLA

Fun fact: His mother is a Methodist minister, and father Fe’ao played for Tonga at the 1995 and 1999 World Cups.

Mako Vunipola takes his athletic ability from his father, who fetaured in two world cups

KYLE SINCKLER

Fun fact: As a child he thought he was a dinosaur – and would eat leaves!

DAN COLE

Fun fact: The joint most-capped player in the squad with Leicester team-mate Ben Youngs, on 86 appearances, and one of three along with Youngs and Courtney Lawes, who has played in two World Cups.

ELLIS GENGE

Fun fact: Tattooed his foot for every Test nation that he has played against.

MARO ITOJE

Fun fact: Trained with Arsenal this summer, the football team he supports, and once appeared on the front of Tatler magazine.

Maro Itoje is one of the fittest members of the squad and was put through his paces at Arsenal

GEORGE KRUIS

Fun fact: Has set up a company which sells legal cannabis-oil remedies with former Sarries team-mate Dominic Day.

COURTNEY LAWES 

Fun fact: Is the father to four children Nelly (5), Teddy (3), and a pair of twins Hugo and Otto (1) 

JOE LAUNCHBURY

Fun fact: Went to Christ’s Hospital School where he wore the distinctive uniform including breeches and long yellow socks!

SAM UNDERHILL

Fun fact: Was born in the USA, as his father was stationed there as an RAF pilot 

England’s Sam Underhill was born in the USA, as his father was stationed there as an RAF pilot

TOM CURRY

Fun fact: Has bulked up this summer, putting on a stone with a diet full of pasta.

MARK WILSON

Fun fact: On his first day at Newcastle Falcons as a schoolboy he managed to block-in Jonny Wilkinson in his car on the town’s one-way system.

LEWIS LUDLAM

Fun fact: Has three flags in the biography section of his Twitter account – of Palestine, Egypt and Guyana – to represent his parents’ heritage.

BILLY VUNIPOLA

Fun fact: Married his wife Simmone in his homeland of Tonga this summer. He invited 130 people and 280 turned up!

WILLI HEINZ 

Fun fact: Is one of three members of the squad to have played against England. Joe Marler and Elliot Daly represented the Barbarians in 2019 and 2013, and Heinz played for the Crusaders in 2014.

Scrum half Willi Heinz is one of three members of the squad to have played against England

BEN YOUNGS

Fun fact: His father Nick won six caps for England, also as a scrum-half, between 1983 and 1984.

OWEN FARRELL

Fun fact: Missed Saracens’ European quarter-final against Glasgow in the Spring to attend the birth of his first child, Tommy.

GEORGE FORD 

Fun fact: Bought himself one of the final Defender cars that Land Rover produced before the model was discontinued.

MANU TUILAGI 

Fun fact: Loves snooker and once went to watch the World Championships at the Crucible with Ellis Genge.

PIERS FRANCIS 

Fun fact: Was born in Gravesend in Kent, but spent his formative years in New Zealand where he played for Auckland, the Blues, Waikato and Counties Manakau between 2011 and 2015.

Piers Francis spent his formative years in New Zealand where he played for Auckland

HENRY SLADE

Fun fact: Has a huge cockapoo dog called Frank, after Frank the Tank in the film Old School.

JONATHAN JOSEPH

Fun fact: Sister Hannah is a netball star for Loughborough Lightning.

RUARIDH MCCONNOCHIE 

Fun fact: Was nicknamed “The Stick” by Bath team-mates when he joined last year due to his lanky frame.

JACK NOWELL

Fun fact: Owns a pub – the Swordfish – in his home town of Newlyn near Penzance.

JOE COKANASIGA

Fun fact: Was born in Fiji, left aged three, and has spent his youth in Germany and Brunei as his father Ilaitia was in the British Army.

After being born in Fiji, Joe Cokanasiga spent his youth in Germany and Brunei

JONNY MAY 

Fun fact: Is the fastest member of the squad, able to run at speed close to 24mph!

ANTHONY WATSON 

Fun fact: A huge American Football fan, who supports the New York Giants.

ELLIOT DALY

Fun fact: Once hit a penalty from his own half at Twickenham as a schoolboy for Whitgift in the Daily Mail Schools Cup final back in 2011.

ENGLAND SQUAD IN NUMBERS

1,007 – caps  in the 31-man England squad. Dan Cole and Ben Youngs have the most with 86 each.

27y 117d – The average age of the squad. Joe Cokanasiga and Tom Curry are the youngest (21) and Willi Heinz (32) is the oldest.

SIX – players were born abroad – as many as those born in London. Mako Vunipola (New Zealand), Billy Vunipola (Australia), Sam Underhill (USA), Willi Heinz (New Zealand), Manu Tuilagi (Samoa) and Joe Cokanasiga (Fiji) were born overseas with Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje and Kyle Sinckler the Londoners.

14 – players have never played at a World Cup before. Sixteen survive from 2019, and just four – Lawes, Cole, Tuilagi and Youngs – from 2011.

Ruaridh McConnochie was the 129th, and last, player picked by Eddie Jones the squads he has named since 2016 and Lewis Ludlam the 128th. Both have made the final 31-man squad.

50 – minutes of Test rugby played by Willi Heinz – who won his first cap on Sunday in the win over Wales.

PLAYERS BY CLUB

Saracens 8, Leicester 6, Bath 5, Northampton 3, Exeter 3, Sale 2, Harlequins 2, Wasps 1, Gloucester 1, 

Tallest: Lawes 6ft 7in 

Shortest: Youngs 5ft 10in 

Heaviest: B Vunipola 19st 12lbs 

Lightest: Ford 13st 6lbs 

Most caps: Cole/Youngs 86 

Fewest caps: McConnochie 0 

Average caps: 32.5 

RWC caps: 64 

RWC points: 113 

RWC debutants: 14




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