Lawes poised for England return
November 27, 2012
Courtney Lawes looks set for his first outing of the autumn internationals against the All Blacks on Saturday © Getty Images
Northampton lock Courtney Lawes is set to make his first international outing of the autumn after being named in England's 23-man squad for Saturday's clash with New Zealand at Twickenham.
Lawes, who made his comeback from a knee injury in the Saints' Aviva Premiership win against London Welsh last weekend, has replaced Mouritz Botha.
The only other change to England's match-day squad from last weekend's 16-15 defeat to South Africa is in the inclusion of uncapped Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns in place of the injured Toby Flood. England head coach Stuart Lancaster will name his starting XV on Thursday morning when he is expected to make only one change, with Owen Farrell due to replace Flood at fly-half.
It will only be Lawes' second international appearance of an injury-plagued year. A shin complaint limited him to just one bench appearance in the Six Nations and ruled him out of the summer tour of South Africa. The 23-year-old returned to action with Northampton at the start of this season but then suffered a knee injury on the eve of the autumn internationals.
Lancaster said: "Firstly to those guys who won't be coming back in tomorrow. Their attitude over the last five weeks has been first-rate with the energy and enthusiasm they have brought to the squad both on and off the field. Unfortunately we can only pick 23 but they have all pushed hard for selection and I know they will go back to their clubs hungry to force their way into the Elite Player Squad in January.
"For those in Saturday's squad the message is clear - last week we went toe to toe with the second best team in the world and felt we should have won. Now we have a chance to take on the number one side in front of a passionate Twickenham crowd, who have been fantastic throughout the QBE Internationals, and it is a challenge we will meet head on."
Prop Alex Corbisiero has not trained with the team yet this week as the England medics manage his return from a knee injury but he is expected to be fit to face the All Blacks. Gloucester prop Nick Wood, who had been called in as cover, is among 11 players who have been released back to their clubs.
England 23-man squad:
FORWARDS (13) - Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), James Haskell (London Wasps), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), David Paice (London Irish), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers),
BACKS (10) - Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Danny Care (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
The following 11 players have been released back to their clubs:
Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Tom Biggs (Bath Rugby), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Palmer (London Wasps), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby),
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