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Wales-Born Immanuel Feyi-Waboso Picked By England After Snub To Wales

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By David Williams

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso – the Cardiff-born wing who snubbed Wales – has been included in the England squad for the Six Nations.

The 21-year-old Exeter wing is part of England coach Steve Borthwick’s group for the tournament which will be captained by Jamie George.

Feyi-Waboso had been of major interest to both Wales and England as he qualified for both countries.

Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted on Tuesday that the former Cardiff player had decided to opt for England after revealing that assistant coach Mike Forshaw had spoken to Feyi-Waboso, rather than Gatland himself.

But the medical student’s decision to go for the Red Rose rather than the Three Feathers had left Welsh regional coaches unimpressed, claimed Gatland.

“He’s definitely got some talent, there’s no doubt about it. He’s as green as anything,” said Gatland.

“He’s obviously had an approach from England, and he’s decided to take that path.

“In saying that there’s a few Welsh coaches that when they heard he’d decided that, and he was born and bred in Cardiff; some of their comments weren’t that positive about him.

“If he doesn’t want to play for Wales you can understand what the Welsh are like about that so they weren’t too disappointed about him making that decision.”

George has been named England captain but there is no place in Steve Borthwick’s squad for Kyle Sinckler or Billy Vunipola.

George, who has previously led the Lions and Saracens, takes the role for the first time following Owen Farrell’s decision to sit out the championship in order to prioritise his and his family’s mental wellbeing.

There are seven uncapped players in the 36-man squad, but their presence is overshadowed by the omission of Sinckler and Vunipola – two stalwarts of the team for the previous two World Cup cycles.

George has won 85 England caps, plus three for the Lions, and is Borthwick’s first choice hooker.

“Last week Steve asked me to be captain for the upcoming Six Nations and I accepted with huge gratitude and enthusiasm,” George said.

“I love playing rugby for England. I hope that everyone has seen how much it means to me, I have never shied away from that.

“I am so excited about where this team can go and bringing the fans on that journey with us is something that I care about deeply.

“I believe I’m at the stage of my career where I can give my all to the captaincy and give my best on the pitch.
“I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead. Owen is a fantastic motivator and tactician, and we will undoubtedly miss his leadership.

“But I have got brilliant people around me, many of whom have won major tournaments, and utilising the great experience we have within the group is going to be crucial.”

Borthwick has undertaken a significant revamp of his squad with only 17 survivors present from the 34 players used at last autumn’s World Cup, which England finished in third place.

Wings Feyi-Waboso, Oscar Beard and Tom Roebuck, back rows Chandler Cunningham-South and Ethan Roots, centre Fraser Dingwall and fly-half Fin Smith are the uncapped players.

“Building on the foundations of what we achieved at the Rugby World Cup, I have selected a squad that provides strong continuity and experience, whilst at the same time providing an opportunity to develop the talent of a number of new and less-experienced players,” Borthwick said.

“I would particularly like to congratulate the new faces who have their first chance and very much look forward to seeing how that young talent can play an important part in ensuring that England continue to develop our game and move forward.”

England open their Six Nations against Italy in Rome on February 3.

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