England tweak Elite Player Squad
July 5, 2012
Harlequins' Danny Care returns to the England Elite Player Squad © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster has made seven changes to the Elite Player Squad ahead of a testing end of year campaign.
The Leicester trio of centre Anthony Allen, lock Geoff Parling and No.8 Thomas Waldrom, Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care, Saracens back Alex Goode, London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph and Exeter flanker Tom Johnson have all been promoted to the 32-man squad that will tackle Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in November.
Wasps back-row James Haskell, Saracens winger David Strettle, Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson and Leicester lock Louis Deacon among those to drop down to the second string Saxons. Former Bath hooker Lee Mears and Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson also miss out after calling time on their international careers last week.
Care's return is arguably the headline decision having been dropped ahead of the Six Nations due to a series of off-field incidents. He returned to the England frame for the recent tour to South Africa and shone during the third Test draw with the Springboks.
Six players who missed the tour to South Africa through injury - Gloucester winger Charlie Sharples, Northampton lock Courtney Lawes, Northampton flanker Tom Wood, Saracens prop Matt Stevens, Bath hooker Rob Webber and Leicester flanker Tom Croft - keep their places in the senior squad.
"We spent a long time deciding on these 64, and there were some tough decisions to make," Lancaster said. "Selecting players at this stage gives us an early chance to sit down and assess the tour and look forward to next season.
"However, experience tells us that form and fitness will play a major role in selection prior to the internationals in November and December, and any of the players in the senior and Saxons squads could easily be involved.
"We saw this in January when Geoff Parling came in as an injury replacement for Louis Deacon and has played every Test since.There is always movement which opens the door for players, and I am sure next season will be no different. The great thing is that we have got competition across the board and strength in depth developing in many positions with players who will be around for the next few years."
The latest Saxons selection includes Sale Sharks' 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.
Lancaster also highlighted some of the younger players who missed out on selection but are still very much in the reckoning. "There are also some exciting players just on the cusp of the squads such as Tom Homer, Charlie Matthews, Tom Heathcote and Elliot Daly, who we are really looking forward to seeing develop in the next 12 months and beyond," he said.
Both squads will attend a training camp at Loughborough University from August 6-8.
FORWARDS (17) - Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Palmer (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
BACKS (15) - Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers), Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
FORWARDS (18) - Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints), Carl Fearns (Bath Rugby), James Gaskell (Sale Sharks), Jamie Gibson (London Irish), Joe Gray (Harlequins), James Haskell (London Wasps), Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors), David Paice (London Irish), George Robson (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
BACKS (14) - Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby), Miles Benjamin (Leicester Tigers), Tom Biggs (Bath Rugby), Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), George Lowe (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Rob Miller (Sale Sharks), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), David Strettle (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown