Lancaster starts building his team for 2015 campaign
England coach Stuart Lancaster says he faced “some tough decisions” before finalising his top 64 players to work with for the next six months.
Lancaster’s 32-strong England elite and England Saxons squads contain many familiar faces. However, those who did not make the senior party include Saracens wing David Strettle and Wasps flanker James Haskell, who were part of last month’s three-Test South Africa tour but have to settle for Saxons places.
There are call-ups, though, for Leicester trio Anthony Allen, Geoff Parling and Thomas Waldrom, Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care, Saracens back Alex Goode, London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph and Exeter flanker Tom Johnson.
Care is back among the elite following his off-the-pitch problems, joining fellow scrum-halves Ben Youngs and Lee Dickson.
Six players who did not tour South Africa because of injury are back: Gloucester wing Charlie Sharples, Northampton forwards Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood, Saracens prop Matt Stevens, Bath hooker Rob Webber and Leicester flanker Tom Croft.
“Selecting players gives us an early chance to sit down and assess the tour and look forward to next season,” Lancaster said. “Experience tells us that form and fitness will play a major role in selection prior to the QBE internationals in November and December, and any of the players could easily be involved.”
There are first appearances in the Saxons contingent for Sale Sharks back Rob Miller – last season’s Aviva Premiership top try-scorer – Wasps wing Christian Wade, Leicester fly-half George Ford, Bath prop Nathan Catt and Worcester flanker Matt Kvesic. Players in both squads will train at Loughborough University between 6 and 8 August.
England’s next Test match is against Fiji at Twickenham on 10 November, followed by appointments with Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The games will have a critical bearing on whether or not England are seeded for the 2015 World Cup on home soil.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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