England head coach Steve Borthwick has named seven Saracens in his 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in France next month.

Owen Farrell (106 caps), Jamie George (77) and Billy Vunipola (68) will be appearing at the third World Cup, with Maro Itoje (67) and Elliot Daly (57) at their second.

And Ben Earl (15) and Theo Dan, who made his debut against Wales in Cardiff at the weekend, will be appearing at the tournament for the first time.

Henry Slade has been left out in an unexpected selection twist having been an automatic pick in the midfield for much of the last six years.

The versatile Exeter centre has appeared in 30 of the last 37 Tests since the 2019 tournament, but lost out to Joe Marchant, who covers wing as well as 13 and played his way into the squad after emerging from the wreckage of Saturday's defeat by Wales with his reputation enhanced.

The exclusion of Alex Dombrandt means Vunipola is the only specialist number eight bound for France next month.

Dombrandt started every match in the Six Nations but was unable to stamp his authority on the jersey and compounded his humdrum form with an unimpressive display in Cardiff.

Vunipola is chosen despite not having played since April because of two knee surgeries and missing the entire Six Nations Championship after being frozen out by Borthwick on form grounds.

Lewis Ludlam, Earl and Tom Curry cover number eight and are present among a large contingent of versatile back five forwards that includes rookie Leicester duo Ollie Chessum and George Martin.

Other big names to miss out are wings Jonny May and Joe Cokanasiga, both of whom played in the World Cup four years ago.

“Rugby World Cups involve unique challenges in terms of the demands on players, the need for squad flexibility and the limited number of squad places available,” said Borthwick.

“France 2023 is no different, but I am confident we have selected a squad of 33 that is well able to meet those challenges and leave us best placed to be at our most competitive in this exciting tournament.

“There have been a number of very difficult selection decisions to make, given the quality of our wider training squad. Some very good players have missed out on selection such has been the competition for places over the last eight weeks and more of preparation.

“As Saturday’s game in Cardiff proved, we have a series of demanding Test matches through August as we continue that preparation towards our opening Rugby World Cup pool game against an in-form Argentina side.”

On announcing his squad in early August, Borthwick added: “We believe that announcing the squad a little earlier than otherwise might have been the case, brings a clarity and certainty to the group, allowing the players as much time as possible to settle and develop as a squad.”

England host Wales in their second warm-up game this weekend, having lost 20-9 on Saturday.

They begin their Rugby World Cup campaign in France against Argentina in Marseille (September 9, 8pm) before playing Japan in Nice (September 17, 8pm), Chile in Lille (September 23, 4.45pm) and Samoa in Lille (October 7, 4.45pm).

England squad

Backs: H Arundell (Racing 92), D Care (Harlequins), E Daly (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Sale Sharks), O Lawrence (Bath), M Malins (Bristol), J Marchant (Stade Francais), M Smith (Harlequins), F Steward (Leicester), M Tuilagi (Sale Sharks), J van Poortvliet (Leicester), A Watson (unattached), B Youngs (Leicester).

Forwards: O Chessum (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), T Curry (Sale Sharks), T Dan (Saracens), B Earl (Saracens), E Genge (Bristol), J George (Saracens), M Itoje (Saracens), C Lawes (Northampton), L Ludlam (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), G Martin (Leicester), D Ribbans (Toulon), B Rodd (Sale Sharks), K Sinckler (Bristol), W Stuart (Bath), B Vunipola (Saracens), J Walker (Harlequins), J Willis (Toulouse).