Lawrence to step in for injured Tuilagi as in-form Spencer misses out

Ben Spencer set to miss out on England squad despite impressive form for Bath with Worcester wrecking ball Ollie Lawrence in line to replace long-term absentee Manu Tuilagi

  • England will play their first match since March’s Six Nations win over Wales 
  • In-form Spencer is snubbed while Lawrence steps into Manu Tuilagi’s shoes
  • Wasps and Exeter Chiefs players will join the squad after the Premiership final

Eddie Jones is set to snub Bath scrum-half Ben Spencer from his autumn England squad, but Worcester Warriors wrecking-ball centre Ollie Lawrence is expected to be included on Thursday. 

The national coach will update his party with players from Bath, Worcester and Sale Sharks before a weekend training camp building up to the Barbarians fixture on October 25. 

And Sportsmail understands despite his superb form for Bath, scrum-half Spencer will be left out along with wing Joe Cokanasiga. 

Ben Spencer’s brilliant form for Bath has not yet convinced England head coach Eddie Jones

Ollie Lawrence’s dominant performances for Worcester Warriors at centre has turned heads

The 22-year-old Fijian-born flyer has only just returned from almost a year out injured, and it is believed Jones wants him to recover fully before he returns to the England fold.

With Manu Tuilagi out until next year having torn his achilles, England are on the look-out for a big centre to replace him.

Sources have indicated that 15st 10lbs Lawrence, 21, is earmarked as that man and will be added to the squad.

After the Premiership final on October 24, Jones will complete his squad with the addition of those from Exeter Chiefs and Wasps. 

England’s last match was on March 7 when they defeated Wales 33-30 in the Six Nations

It is believed that league sensation Jack Willis, 23, will be selected at that point, capping a remarkable season in which he has won 44 turnovers in the league – 25 more than anyone else. 

On Wednesday night the Wasps flanker was recognised by his peers when named Rugby Players’ Association Players’ Player of the Year.

Willis said on that accolade: ‘It’s an incredible honour to win this award and for it to be voted by all the players and teams that I’ve played against, and my peers, makes it even more special.’

Willis looks likely to be joined in the England squad after the final by fellow Wasps starlet Alfie Barbeary, the 20-year-old hooker who also plays back-row, scrum-half Dan Robson – who benefits from Spencer’s absence – and fly-half Jacob Umaga.

Dan Robson’s opportunistic try helped Wasps to a resounding 47-24 semi-final win over Bristol

Jack Willis (attempting the block) will hope for a call-up after winning the Premiership final

Barbeary is tipped for greatness and scored a hat-trick against Leicester last month. 

Exeter brothers Joe and Sam Simmonds may well miss out despite leading the Chiefs to both the European and Premiership finals.

For Wales, hooker Ken Owens is out of the autumn having dislocated his shoulder, and has been replaced by Elliot Dee. Josh Macleod, 23, is also out with hamstring trouble so 29-year-old James Davies is in. 

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