Senior internationals Chris Robshaw and Danny Care have been left out of England’s first World Cup training squad.
The Harlequins pair, with 150 caps between them, are not part of a 29-man group named by the Rugby Football Union.
But four uncapped players are in the squad – Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie, Gloucester’s Georgia-born prop Val Rapava Ruskin, Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlam and Harlequins back-row forward Alex Dombrandt.
Bristol-bound number eight Nathan Hughes also misses out, and whether another absentee – Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley – is called into camp at any point this summer remains to be seen.
Hartley, who led England to Six Nations titles in 2016 and 2017, has not played for six months due to a knee problem and it is understood that he is still struggling with the issue.
Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell is an overwhelming favourite to captain England at the World Cup in Japan.
Apart from Rapava Ruskin and Ludlam, players from clubs involved in the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals – Saracens, Exeter, Gloucester and Northampton – will not feature at this stage due to a mandatory five-week rest period.
The pair, plus a small number involved for an England XV against the Barbarians on June 2, will be managed to ensure post-season active rest periods are fulfilled in agreement with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players’ Association.
Flanker Robshaw, 33, was England’s 2015 World Cup captain, but he last featured for his country a year ago, and 32-year-old scrum-half Care did not gain selection during last season’s Six Nations.
The squad will assemble at Pennyhill Park in Surrey on Sunday for five days, before a second camp from June 30-July 4 when further Gloucester and Northampton players could be added.
England boss Eddie Jones is due to name an official training squad on July 4, boosted by a potentially sizeable Saracens and Exeter contingent, before the first official World Cup camp begins three days later.
Jones said: “The first two England training camps are designed to improve individual players’ fundamentals to allow them to compete for a place in the Rugby World Cup squad.”
Ruskin, 26, was born in Tbilisi, but moved to England at the age of two. He is a former Georgia Under-19 captain who played for Worcester before joining Gloucester.
Former England Sevens star McConnochie enjoyed an outstanding debut season with Bath last term and Dombrandt, who was a colleague of Wales flanker Aaron Wainwright at college in Cardiff, and Ludlam have also maintained impressive club form.
Saracens forwards Mako Vunipola and George Kruis, meanwhile, will attend the training camp for treatment.
England’s opening World Cup warm-up game is against Wales at Twickenham on August 11.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Experienced pair Mathieu Bastareaud and Morgan Parra missed out on France’s 31-man World Cup squad, head coach Jacques Brunel announced on Tuesday.
The powerful Toulon centre, who has captained Les Bleus three times during his 54-cap career, missed out in a group announced by France head coach Jacques Brunel.
The squad, together with six named reserves, will work towards the tournament in Japan before a final squad is confirmed on September 2.
Bastareaud, 30, will move to Major League Rugby in America later this year, joining Rugby United New York.
Toulouse centre Sofiane Guitoune looks set to prosper from Bastareaud’s absence, while Brunel has included uncapped players in Guitoune’s club colleague Peato Mauvaka, and Toulon prop Emerick Setiano.
Bastareaud apart, other notable absentees include wing Teddy Thomas, scrum-half Parra and prop Uini Atonio.
“We have followed (Sofiane) Guitoune all year,” Brunel told L’Equipe. “He performed very well.
“We did not know if he would produce the (form). He did it all year long.
“The group is rejuvenated with many players who are 25 years and under, but there are still players with experience with (Yoann) Huget, (Wesley) Fofana and (Maxime) Medard.”
Les Bleus start their campaign against Argentina on September 21 before facing the USA, Tonga and then England in what promises to be a tough Pool C.
🇫🇷 Voici les 37 joueurs retenus pour la préparation de la Coupe du Monde 2019 au Japon ! Il est composé d'un premier groupe de 31 joueurs et de 6 suppléants ! #XVdeFrance #RWC2019 #NeFaisonsXV pic.twitter.com/FeJWbSUmDS— Fédération Française de Rugby (@FFRugby) June 18, 2019
Toulouse won the French title for a 20th time on Saturday beating Clermont 24-18.
With the season finished, we grade the performances of all 14 teams in the competition.
2018/19 record: Won 8, Draw 1, Lost 17
The Lot-et-Garonne outfit struggled in their second season back in the Top 14, finishing third from bottom. And for all the disappointment of their 17 defeats, they still managed to win eight games and stay in the top flight. With a shoestring budget, they are built for another relegation scrap next campaign alongside Brive and Bayonne.
2018/19 record: Won 12, Draw 1, Lost 13
Another mediocre season for Les Girondins. Raphael Ibanez’s side look a long way off securing a first ever play-off spot after finishing 10th – 13 points off sixth place. Bordeaux though has the best attendance in the league, with 20,409 spectators average, but were unable to convert that extra advantage on the points table. Financial issues are curtailing the club at present so it will be interesting to see what happens this summer.
2018/19 record: Won 15, Lost 11
Christophe Urios’s team looked devoid of the same class that saw them clinch Top 14 glory in 2018. The men from Midi Pyrenees were unable to replicate the same heroics, finishing outside of the play-offs by two points, despite having the best defensive record in the competition. Three defeats to Toulouse, Montpellier and Toulon in their last four matches proved costly to their quarter-final prospects.
2018/19 record: Won 16, Draw 3, Lost 7
A stunning season for Les Juanards, reaching the league final and winning the Challenge Cup, a vast contrast their 2018 campaign when they finished a disappointing ninth. They even scored a record number of tries for a side across a Top 14 term, and although they lost the decider to Toulouse, can take confidence form such a stellar season.
2018/19 record: Won 5, Draw 2, Lost 19
The black and reds struggled all year, culminating in relegation in their first season back in the top flight. With one of the worst defensive record in the league, it’s no surprise to see the side from the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region unable to compete with the majority of teams in the competition. Looked better in the middle of the year, after losing their first six games and their last five on the trot. Simply don’t have the talent and confidence to compete with the league’s heavyweights.
2018/19 record: Won 16, Lost 10
Jono Gibbs will be delighted with his first season as head coach, reaching the league semi-finals and Challenge Cup final. With the fourth best attacking record in the league, it is their defence that needs to fire if they are to scale the heights of the 2018-19 season. Irishman Ronan O’Gara will be a serious addition to the coaching ticket for next season.
2018/19 record: Won 17, Draw 1, Lost 8
An outstanding season for Les Loups, qualifying for a second successive semi-final. After finishing fifth in 2017-18, the club have shown they have no shortage of ambition mixing with the league’s best, improving their regular season position to third this term. Fought well for large spells of the semi-final against Clermont but were beaten by a better team. Hold the third best defensive record in the competition. Remarkable campaign overall.
2018/19 record: Won 14, Draw 1, Lost 11
Montpellier owner Mohad Altrad remains motivated as ever to secure a first Top 14 title and next year could be their year. With Guilhem Guirado and Eben Etzebeth joining after the World Cup, Les Cistes could be key challengers for league success. The men from the south had a mixed 2018-19 campaign, winning 14 of their 26 regular season games, before losing to a strong Lyon side in the quarter-finals.
2018/19 record: Won 9, Lost 17
Tasted six more defeats this term and looked like a side low on confidence in 10th place. Lost six matches in a row from rounds eight to 13, before suffering a horror 83-6 defeat to Toulouse last month. With the addition of new players for next campaign, Pau need to target a top-eight finish to show any form of improvement.
2018/19 record: Won 2, Lost 24
After securing the PRO D2 title last term, the yellow and reds were set for a promising campaign with the acquisition of 12 new players. But 24 defeats and the worst defensive record in the league has seen them slip back down to the second tier competition. If they are to ever improve, they need a stronger pack and more desire from their backline.
2018/19 record: Won 15, Draw 1 Lost 10
After reaching the finals of both domestic and European competitions in 2018, Racing failed to fire this campaign, bowing out at the quarter-final stage of the Champions Cup and losing to La Rochelle in the Top 14 quarter-finals. Fifteen wins this term is still a promising return for a side without their international stars for large spells of the season. With Simon Zebo (11 tries this season) and Finn Russell starting to shine, owner Jacky Lorenzetti will be hoping some silverware can back-up their efforts in 2020.
2018/19 record: Won 14, Lost 12
A much improved campaign for the Parisiens, winning five more games than last season and finishing eighth in the table. Question marks hang over Heyneke Meyer’s leadership, but they will need to use the summer holidays to rectify problems and try to inspire this crop of players to greater heights. It’s hard to believe their fall from grace since winning the Top 14 title in 2015.
2018/19 record: Won 12, Lost 14
Inconsistency has plagued their campaign and they failed to reach the play-offs for the first since 2011. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe will have his work cut out for him next season with an ageing squad that lacks drive and firepower. Former All Black Julian Savea was meant to produce the magic but was anonymous all season. Owner Mourad Boudjellal even joked that he wanted to give a player a DNA test to see if he had actually signed the right player.
2018/19 record: Won 16, Draw 1, Lost 9
Le Stade finished in pole position at the end of the Top 14 regular season and lifted the title in their first final appearance since 2012. They played an attractive brand of rugby and deservedly lifted the silverware after a series of consistent displays across the season. In Romain Ntamack, Thomas Ramos, Antoine Dupont and Cheslin Kolbe, they possess some of the best young players in the game.