Rugby: Kiwi-born former jiu-jitsu cage fighter Ethan Roots picked for England's Six Nations squad

Ethan Roots for Exeter Chiefs.
Ethan Roots for Exeter Chiefs. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi-born Ethan Roots has been included in England's 36-strong squad for the Six Nations, as one of seven new faces picked by coach Steve Borthwick.  

Born and raised in Auckland, 26-year-old Roots is playing his first season in England, after moving to Exeter Chiefs at the start of 2023.  

The loose forward played 10 games in two seasons for North Harbour at NPC level, and one game of Super Rugby for the Crusaders in 2020.  

In 2021, Roots moved to Wales to play for Ospreys, before signing on to join Exeter. Outside of rugby, Roots is a former jiu-jitsu cage fighter.

Elsewhere, Saracens hooker Jamie George was named as the new England captain in the absence of Owen Farrell.  

George, who has 85 caps, is one of the few players absolutely assured of his place as England undergo a period of transition in the wake of regular captain Owen Farrell's decision to stand down from international rugby.

The other uncapped players are Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter), Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins), Oscar Beard (Harlequins), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks) and Fin Smith (Northampton Saints).

There is a recall for Northampton's in-form back George Furbank and Bath scrumhalf Ben Spencer, whose last appearance was as a late replacement in the 2019 World Cup final, but prop Kyle Sinckler, reported to be on the brink of securing a move to France, is a notable absentee.

"Building on the foundations of what the England team achieved in 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.

"This, together with his previous experiences of captaining Saracens and the British & Irish Lions, leave him well-placed to lead the team."

After their opening trip to Italy, England then host Wales, play Scotland in Edinburgh, host Ireland before finishing off away to France.

England training squad:

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Alex Coles, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Chandler Cunningham-South, Ben Curry, Theo Dan, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Joe Marler, Beno Obano, Tom Pearson, Ethan Roots, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, 

Backs: Oscar Beard, Danny Care, Elliot Daly, Fraser Dingwall, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, George Ford, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Ollie Lawrence, Alex Mitchell, Tom Roebuck, Henry Slade, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Ben Spencer, Freddie Steward