REVEALED: The real reason why Ben Earl was dropped by England
One of the biggest mysteries in English rugby at the moment is the lack of game time that Ben Earl receives.
The Saracens flanker was named the Gallagher Premiership player of the season in 2022 and deservedly so, but had been completely overlooked by Eddie Jones since the 2021 Six Nations. That immediately changed with the arrival of Steve Borthwick, who selected Earl for his squad this Six Nations, and brought him off the bench in the opening two matches, meaning he has earned all 15 of his England caps from the bench.
Unfortunately for the Saracen, he has found himself out of the squad this week for the Wales match, missing out on Borthwick’s 26-man squad after originally being in the 36-man squad. Fans have now been left to speculate why he has missed out again.
But footage has recently emerged which might shine some light on why Borthwick has axed the flanker. It might all come down to one kick he made in training. The kick in question came during a training match after Marcus Smith had made a break. Earl was the support runner for the fly-half, and shortly after receiving the ball decided to produce a grubber kick for Joe Marchant to chase. The centre did manage to score, but that was probably too much for Borthwick.
Borthwick is a former second-row, forward orientated coach. The sight of a flanker producing an attacking kick like that probably made him physically ill. In his dream world of 15-man lineouts and mauls, kicking flankers do not have a place, and Earl has been booted.
Take a look:
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 20, 2023
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 97 caps)
Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 11 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 45 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 74 caps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 10 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 64 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 96 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 16 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 58 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 76 caps)
Jack Walker (Harlequins, 1 cap)
Jack Willis (Toulouse, 7 caps)
Henry Arundell (London Irish, 4 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 103 caps)
Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 16 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 14 caps)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)
Cadan Murley (Harlequins, uncapped)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 53 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 19 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps)
Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)