Eddie Jones named his England squad to tour South Africa on Thursday and his selection has caused quite a stir, with a few surprise inclusions such as Danny Cipriani and Cameron Redpath.
The inclusion of Brad Shields has also been a point of discussion, with former All Black Justin Marshall airing his concerns, as well as NZRU.
Controversial or not, the inclusion of the aforementioned trio means a number of players have been excluded. Here, we list five players who can feel hard-done-by not to be on the plane to South Africa.
1. Marcus Smith – Harlequins
Smith has been in the last two squads as an apprentice and with the below-par performances of George Ford, it seemed that June may finally be the time to blood the 19-year-old playmaker.
Smith is an excellent attacking fly-half and has all the potential to be among the world’s best. It’s just a shame England fans will not get to see him play in South Africa.
2. Gary Graham – Newcastle Falcons
Another man that has been selected in previous England squads, Graham has been a standout performer during Newcastle Falcons’ successful campaign this term.
Of most interest, Graham is fantastic at the breakdown; an area England were brutally exposed at during the horror Six Nations. This makes his exclusion even more surprising and difficult to comprehend.
3. Jason Woodward – Gloucester
A revelation for Gloucester this season, Jason Woodward has combined fast feet with a cool playmaking head to give defenders nightmares week-in week-out.
The former Hurricanes star has been tearing up the Premiership this season and has been treating the Kingsholm faithful to some pretty sensational trickery from fullback.
It is a real shock to see the 27-year-old left out, given the inclusion of others.
4. Zach Mercer – Bath
In all honesty, what does Zach Mercer have to do to get a game for England?
The Bath number eight has displayed an insatiable ferocity and hunger this season for Bath. His all-action style and enormous work rate make him a prime candidate for England, it just seems Eddie Jones has not seen enough.
5. Don Armand – Exeter
Unfortunately, it seems that Exeter star Don Armand will remain on one cap this summer. He has continued to be one of the best back rows around, competing in the play-offs with Exeter Chiefs.
Armand would have been useful in South Africa and one cannot fault his form, it seems that some talent may have been overlooked to shoehorn in Brad Shields.
England have left out a number of in-form players for the upcoming tour to South Africa, and Eddie Jones may come under further scrutiny should anything but an impressive performance come to pass during the Test series.