Corbisiero and Croft return from injury

Stuart Lancaster: 'Important few days' . Picture: Getty
Stuart Lancaster: 'Important few days' . Picture: Getty
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Fifty-five England players have joined head coach Stuart Lancaster at Loughborough University for their summer training camp.

The squad will undergo strength and conditioning assessments as well as rugby training over the next three days before returning to their clubs on Wednesday lunchtime.

Among the notable inclusions were loose-head prop Alex Corbisiero and back row Tom Croft, both of whom have returned to the national set-up after lengthy spells out with knee injuries.

Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani kept his place after returning to the England fold on the summer tour to New Zealand while Saracens back row Jackson Wray is a new name.

Dan Cole, Sam Dickinson and Ollie Devoto all missed out due to injury.

Lancaster said: “This camp will give us a chance to get the wider squad together and an opportunity to review the New Zealand tour.

“It will be an important few days for us in terms of complementing the work that the clubs have been doing in pre-season with their strength and conditioning but also from a rugby point of view.

“The next time we meet will be two weeks before we play New Zealand in the QBE Internationals, so this time 
together is vital.”

England were beaten 3-0 in New Zealand, suffering narrow defeats in the first two Tests before a convincing loss in the final match in Hamilton.

A senior squad of 33 players and a 32-man Saxons party will be announced in October ahead of the November internationals.

Lancaster praised Premiership Rugby for allowing him to name his squad later than normal, saying: “In collaboration with Premiership Rugby we have been given the flexibility to announce the England Senior and Saxons squads in October, much closer to our four international matches in November.

“We appreciate their support of our proposal, which enables time to assess the first part of the club season and therefore select players who are in form leading into an important series for us. It also allows an opportunity for players not involved in the training camp this week to put down a marker in terms of their performances ahead of the squad announcement.”

Meanwhile winger Joe Tomane and prop Laurie Weeks have been ruled out of Australia’s Rugby Championship squad for up to three weeks due to hamstring strains. They will miss the Wallabies’ opening two matches against New Zealand, which double as Bledisloe Cup clashes, in Sydney next Saturday and in Auckland on 23 August.

Weeks aggravated an injury at training on Friday, while Tomane, who missed the June series against France with a broken cheekbone, suffered a fresh injury. New South Wales Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan and Melbourne Rebels winger Tom English have been called into the squad as replacements.

“It’s disappointing to lose Laurie and Joe at this point, but… we’re going to continue to take a pragmatic approach and give guys with issues the chance to focus solely on their rehab before rejoining the squad,” coach Ewen McKenzie said.

“We don’t expect them to miss more than a couple of weeks, and when they become available for selection once again we’ll know they are healthy and ready to contribute.”

In the Women’s Rugby World Cup, hosts France set up an all-northern hemisphere semi-final stage with a 17-3 win over Australia on Saturday after England and Canada drew 13-13 to leave four-times champions New Zealand out in the cold.

Ireland – whose surprise defeat last week of favourites and holders the Black Ferns turned the tournament on its head – also go through to the last four as Pool B winners which is already their best showing in the tournament’s history.

The women in green have been the side to watch so far and they did not disappoint with a 40-5 win over Kazakhstan on Saturday to top the group ahead of New Zealand and win the right to play Pool A victors England in the first semi on Wednesday.

France’s Pool C-winning victory over Australia – the last pool match of the seventh Women’s World Cup – was a torrid affair in which Les Bleus’ heavier pack made the difference. A yellow card for Wallaroos’ captain Shannon Parry tipped the balance a bit more, and the referee awarded a penalty try four minutes before half-time – the first conceded by Australia in the tournament and in the end a decisive one.

Earlier, it was Canada’s Club de Rugby Quebec winger Magali Harvey’s penalty that levelled the scores against England to get her side through as the fourth semi-finalists against France. That broke New Zealand hearts by putting the fourth spot as the best runners-up out of their reach even before they took the field for their 34-3 victory against the United States.

Both of Wednesday’s semi-finals are due to take place at Stade Jean Bouin in west Paris.