England Six Nations squad 2023: Steve Borthwick's starting XV undone against Scotland

Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith - Andrew Boyers/Action Images
Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith - Andrew Boyers/Action Images

Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith were both started in England's Six Nations opener against Scotland, but once again the much-discussed axis failed to fire as the hosts lost back-to-back matches at Twickenham against the Scots for the first time ever.

In his first match at the helm Steve Borthwick opted to ring the changes in the back row, with Lewis Ludlam, Ben Curry and Alex Dombrant rounding out a new-look forward pack which also featured Leicester second row Ollie Chessum.

Ludlum shone - his industriousness around the park gave England a good attacking platform which they weren't able to capitalise on - but Curry, making his first England appearance since 2021, struggled to replicate his fine club form that earned him his starting spot. If anyone is vulnerable to being dropped it's the Sale man.

The return of Max Malins on the wing was a bright spot in a losing day for the hosts as the Saracens speedster scored twice - one a brilliant take from a Smith crossfield kick.

Who is in England's Six Nations squad?


Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, five caps)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 95 caps)
Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, one cap)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, nine caps)
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, three caps)
Ben Earl (Saracens, 13 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 43 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 72 caps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, eight caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 62 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 14 caps)
David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, three caps)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 56 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 74 caps)
Jack Walker (Harlequins, uncapped)


Owen Farrell (Saracens, 101 caps)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, three caps)
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, uncapped)
Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, seven caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 14 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 13 caps)
Fin Smith (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 17 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 17 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 50 caps)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, seven caps)
Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 121 caps)

Who has missed out?

The headline omissions from Borthwick squad are Jack Nowell, Jonny May and Billy Vunipola – all of whom played a huge part during the tenure of Eddie Jones.

Their respective non-selection offers the clearest indication yet of the new regime’s departure from the old, as Borthwick looks to blood new talent who have shown top-level form for their clubs.

Other notable names to be left out include Alex Coles, Hugh Tizzard, Val Rapava Ruskin, Joe Cokanasiga and George Furbank.

Who is injured?

As ever, Borthwick has been forced to exclude certain names due to injuries.

Likely starters such as flanker Tom Curry and Luke Cowan-Dickie are both injured, with the latter ruled out of the tournament.

Courtney Lawes continues to manage his rehabilitation alongside the squad with Henry Slade doing the same. Both will miss the opening round against Scotland.

Hooker is a problem position for Borthwick with George McGuigan and Jack Singleton joining Cowan-Dickie on the injury list. Tighthead prop Will Stuart is also unavailable.

George Ford is yet to play for his new side Sale but is expected to return to action soon while, in more positive news, London Irish flyer Henry Arundell and Sale scrum-half Raffi Quirke have already done so.