Eddie Jones has thrust Paolo Odogwu and Harry Randall into his England squad for the Guinness Six Nations after being won over by their unique game-breaking skills.
It is the first time the uncapped pair have been selected and their inclusion comes despite a limit of 28 players being placed on the number Jones can pick throughout the tournament for coronavirus-prevention reasons.
Odogwu has been in rampaging form in his breakthrough season at Wasps, topping the stats charts for clean line breaks and most metres made, and the 23-year-old covers centre and wing.
Jonathan Joseph made four starts when Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup titles were won late last year, but the Bath wing now drops into a 12-strong shadow squad to make room for Odogwu.
Randall, also 23, is the dynamo at the heart of Bristol’s rise to the summit of the Gallagher Premiership, his lack of size proving no barrier to excelling through a blend of pace and attacking instinct.
Ben Youngs and Dan Robson are the established scrum-halves, but Randall will be looking to apply pressure in time for the launch of the title defence against Scotland on February 6.
“They’ve both got something a little bit different about them,” said Jones, who announced his squad from self-isolation at The Lensbury after Matt Proudfoot, one of his assistants, tested positive for coronavirus.
“Paolo’s a guy we saw at the end of last season. He’s got power and a bit of X-factor.
“We’re looking for another centre or winger who has that and he’s been consistently dynamic in being able to break the line.
“I like his ball-carrying ability. He has the ability to beat people. He’s got a good sense for the line and is such an enthusiastic player.
“We’ve been watching Harry for a long time now, at least two seasons. He continues to develop his game and his running.
“His initiative in attack is the thing that’s really caught the eye. We’re really pleased with his development.
“He’s a good young player but it’s not so much the youth, it’s the quality of his play that’s the key thing for us.”
Kyle Sinckler misses the Calcutta Cup clash as he serves his suspension for swearing at a referee, but Jones revealed that the Bristol prop can be brought straight into the 28-man squad when he becomes available.
To protect the bubble environment at England’s camps at St George’s Park and The Lensbury, Jones must work with the same number throughout the Six Nations.
However, the shadow squad are subject to the same testing protocols and can be swapped into the senior group when needed.
Jones is on day four of his 10-day spell in quarantine and can join up with his players for the first time on Thursday.
“It hasn’t been disruptive, not one iota. Most of the meetings we do now are by Zoom anyway, so for the next period of time we’ve just continued by Zoom,” Jones said.
Newcastle flanker Mark Wilson has impressed for the Falcons this season and is given the nod ahead of Jack Willis, who must settle for a place in the support group.
Mako Vunipola has not played since France were defeated in the Autumn Nations Cup final, but the loosehead prop is suffering from an unspecified injury and will be with England for rehabilitation purposes only.
Courtney Lawes is back having missed the autumn because of ankle surgery and England have confirmed that Owen Farrell will continue as captain for the Six Nations.