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Hartley set miss out on Rugby World Cup for England

LONDON (AP) — Dylan Hartley, England's captain for the majority of this Rugby World Cup cycle, looks set to miss out on a place in the squad for the tournament in Japan starting in September. The injured hooker was one of the high-profile names missing when England coach Eddie Jones announced a squad of 29 players to attend a training camp next week. Also absent was former England captain Chris Robshaw and No. 8 Nathan Hughes.

The group did not include players who featured in the English Premiership semifinals or final — champion Saracens, Exeter, Gloucester or Northampton — because of the mandatory five-week rest period. These players will be added in later enlarged squads, with a final 31-man World Cup party to be named on July 4.

Hartley plays for Northampton but would still likely have been called up to this initial training squad had he been fit or in contention for a World Cup spot. However, he has not played since December because of a knee injury and reportedly will not be fit until August.

The 33-year-old Hartley led England to Six Nations titles in 2016 and '17 and retained his first-choice spot up until last year, even though hooker rival Jamie George was widely considered to be in better form. Most recently, Hartley was sharing the captaincy with Owen Farrell.

Tellingly, Jones summoned two injured players — George Kruis and Mako Vunipola — to the camp for medical treatment, but not Hartley. Robshaw, a flanker who was replaced as captain after the 2015 World Cup by Hartley, hasn't played since having knee surgery in October. Hughes has been the usual backup for No. 8 Billy Vunipola but looks to have dropped out of favor, while there is also no place for Danny Care, a long-time No. 2 to scrumhalf Ben Youngs.

Alex Dombrandt, Lewis Ludlam, Ruaridh McConnochie and Val Rapava Ruskin received their first call-ups to a senior England training squad. England's first World Cup warm-up is against Wales on Aug. 11.

England training squad: Forwards: Dan Cole, Tom Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Tom Dunn, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Joe Launchbury, Lewis Ludlam, Val Rapava Ruskin, Nick Schonert, Brad Shields, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Singleton, Sam Underhill, Mark Wilson. Backs: Chris Ashton, Mike Brown, Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ruaridh McConnochie, Dan Robson, Marcus Smith, Ben Te'o, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

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