The shocking reason England World Cup hopeful was dropped by Steve Borthwick
By Rugby Onslaught

The shocking reason England World Cup hopeful was dropped by Steve Borthwick

Steve Borthwick announced his official 41-man training squad today that will prepare for the Rugby World Cup in September, which includes some surprise exclusions.

Zach Mercer and the injured Luke Cowan-Dickie headline the absentees from the forwards, while Northampton Saints scrum-half Alex Mitchell is a surprise omission from the backs after impressing during the Six Nations.

Ben Youngs, Danny Care and Jack van Poortvliet are the scrum-halves chosen ahead of Mitchell, and while this is an interesting selection, Rugby Onslaught believe to know the reason why the Saint has missed out. It all comes down to some footage shared by England on social media on the eve of the selection.

The video shows players trying the ‘Catching Challenge’ craze in rugby at the moment where someone holds the ball above their head, drops it, and tries to catch it between their legs before it hits the ground. Based on the video, Mitchell was the only player that was able to do it, which most people would think would automatically earn him a place in the England squad. However, RO can only surmise that he spent all his time at camp try to achieve this feat, and very little time training.

Perhaps Borthwick secretly wants to be a viral TikTok star himself and is jealous of Mitchell. At this moment in time that is the only explanation why the best English scrum-half in the Gallagher Premiership last season has missed out.

Here’s the video:

England Squad
Forwards (23)
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 6 caps)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 100 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 45 caps)
Theo Dan (Saracens, uncapped)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 14 caps)
Ben Earl (Saracens, 15 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 48 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 77 caps)
Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 67 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 97 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 19 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 79 caps)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)
Val Rapava-Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 61 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 29 caps)
Jack Willis (Toulouse, 10 caps)
Tom Willis (Bordeaux Bègles, uncapped)

Backs (18)
Henry Arundell (London Irish, 7 caps)
Danny Care (Harlequins, 87 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 57 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 106 caps)
George Ford (Sale Sharks, 81 caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 18 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 15 caps)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 72 caps)
Cadan Murley (Harlequins, uncapped)
Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 4 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 56 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 21 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 51 caps)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps)
Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 122 caps)

Rehabilitation (5)
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps)
Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 11 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 79 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 68 caps)
Jack Walker (Harlequins, 3 caps)