NEWLYN'S Jack Nowell has been named in England's 26-man squad to travel to Paris for Saturday's RBS Six Nations opener against France.
And the Exeter Chiefs winger seems almost certain to win his first cap in the Stade de France, with Chris Ashton axed from the squad as boss Stuart Lancaster says he wants to 'have a look' at Nowell.
If England coach Stuart Lancaster does select the 20-year-old former Cornish Pirates and Redruth flyer, he would become the first player from west Cornwall to play for his country since Stack Stevens represented England and the Lions with great distinction in the 1970s.
The 23 to play at the Stade de France will be named on Thursday morning, with three additional players flying with the team that afternoon as cover.
Uncapped backs Luther Burrell, George Ford, Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson are included in the squad, which will return to Pennyhill Park tomorrow evening. However, Nowell's Chiefs colleague Tom Johnson is one of nine players released from the 35-man training squad.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We are excited about the players we are taking to Paris and what a great place to open our RBS 6 Nations campaign against a French team who will be massively motivated, especially after the last two games between us.
“Competition for places is intense and we have tough selection choices to make across the team. The young players have really impressed and based on their club form and what they have done in training with us they deserve their opportunity.
“Competition at scrum-half has been particularly tight and Danny Care’s form leading into the Six Nations has been excellent and he merits his inclusion. Ben Youngs misses out this time but he is a quality player and I am sure he will respond in the same way Danny did at the start of the year."
England squad, forwards: David Attwood (Bath), Dan Cole (Leicester), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale), Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola (both Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton), Tom Youngs (Leicester). Backs: Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Anthony Watson (Bath).
JACK NOWELL FACTFILE:
NAME: Jack Nowell
SCHOOL: Mount’s Bay.
HEIGHT: 5’11 / 1.81m
WEIGHT: 13st 9lbs / 87kg
PREVIOUS CLUBS: Redruth, Plymouth Albion, Cornish Pirates (all loan)
HONOURS: England U-18s, 20s
DEBUT: v Ospreys (H) 15/10/11
Nowell is a product of the Cornish Pirates’ mini junior section. He moved to Exeter Chiefs from Truro College.
A full-back by trade, he was promoted into the Chiefs first team midway through last season to play on the wing.
A brilliant first season in the Aviva Premiership saw Nowell nominated for the RPA Young Player of the Year award; he was also crowned the LV= Cup Breakthrough Player of the Year after notable displays against London Welsh, Bath, Ospreys and Northampton Saints.
His classy attacking skills make him a key weapon in the Chiefs arsenal, while his growing maturity was rewarded with a call-up into the England Saxons EPS squad.
Having been in the England U20 team which won Six Nations in 2013, he helped the U20s win the Junior World Championship in France, scoring a try in the final v Wales.