Six Nations: Odogwu and Randall called up by England

Odogwu failed to score in eight games last season but was in good shape in this campaign

Date: Saturday February 6th Kicking off: 16:45 GMT Conference location: Twickenham
Cover: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Scotland, online with live text commentary

Wasp Back Paolo Odogwu and Bristol Scrum-Half Harry Randall were named in England’s 28-man roster for the Six Nations.

Bath support Beno Obano is the third player without a cap in the squad.

Notable omissions are wasp flanker Jack Willis and Bath-back Jonathan Joseph, named in a 12-man shadow squad.

“Both have something different about them,” said head coach Eddie Jones of Odogwu and Randall.

Bristol prop Kyle Sinckler, who is suspended for the opener against Scotland, is not included in any squad. Sinckler will, however, be eligible once he has served his suspension.

England will retain a 28-player squad throughout the tournament, “in recognition of the challenges posed by COVID-19,” according to an agreement with the clubs and the players’ union.

Courtney Lawes is returning from injury but Mako Vunipola is ruled out although he will join the squad to work on his rehabilitation.

‘X factor’

Jones said Odogwu and Randall, both 23, earned their bets on the attacking flank they bring.

Odogwu has had impressive numbers in the Premier League this season, leading the league in terms of meters gained and clean breaks, and second in number of attempts.

Attempts achievedMeters madeClean breaks
1. S Simmonds 81. P Odogwu 367m1. P Odogwu 12
2. P Odogwu 52. The Barbeary 295m2 = H Purdy 10
3. Six more 33rd M Nanai 280 m2 = N David 10

Meanwhile, Randall’s high-paced approach has brought Bristol to the top of the table.

“We’ve been watching Harry Randall for at least two seasons and his running and initiative in attack are what really stood out,” said Jones.

“Paolo has a certain X-Factor in performance and we’re looking for another center or wing that has that. He was consistently dynamic in his ability to break lines.”

Harry RandallRandall, who scored the opening attempt of the European Challenge Cup final against Toulon in Bristol last season, was reportedly wanted by Wales head coach Wayne Pivac

While Randall and Odogwu represented England under the age of 20, both are still entitled to represent other nations.

Randall qualifies for Wales after spending more than a decade in the country as a child, while Odogwu was able to play for either Italy or Nigeria through his parents.

“He wants to play for England,” said Jones when asked about Randall’s decision about his future.

“There are many players who have options to play for a number of countries, but we want players who want to play for England. There was no hesitation that he wanted to play for England.”

The 12-person shadow group goes through the same Covid testing routine as the main group to ensure they can move into the warehouse in England quickly and safely if necessary.

However, they will continue to train and play for their clubs unless required.

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England Six Nations Squad

Move: Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins, Jonny May, Paolo Odogwu, Harry Randall, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Anthony Watson and Ben Youngs.

Forward: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Beno Obano, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson.

Shadow Command:

Charlie Atkinson, Ali Crossdale, Tom Dunn, Charlie Ewels, George Furbank, Joe Heyes, Jonathan Joseph, Joe Marchant, George Martin, Alex Mitchell, Jacob Umaga, Jack Willis.

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