England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster today announced the revised January 2013 Senior and England Saxons Elite Player Squads.
There are seven changes from the July 2012 Senior squad, with call-ups for Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (London Wasps), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), David Strettle (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby) and Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
The requirement for an eight-man replacements’ bench during the RBS 6 Nations means that the Senior squad has been extended to 33 and Mako Vunipola (Saracens) moves from the Saxons as the additional player.
There are seven changes to the Saxons squad with Elliott Daly (London Wasps), Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Will Fraser (Saracens), Shaun Knight (Gloucester Rugby), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Joel Tomkins (Saracens) and Billy Vunipola (London Wasps) all making their first appearances this season. Billy Vunipola will train with the senior squad in Leeds (January 20-25) while Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers) continues his return-to-play programme.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “The fact that we have spent significant time deliberating over quite a few players shows how tough the competition is to get into this 65 and the strength in depth that is emerging. We have made some changes to both squads and we feel that reflects the players’ form during the first half of the season. There will undoubtedly be movement between the two squads as we go through the RBS 6 Nations and that was evident in the QBE Internationals, with players in form pushing through such as Freddie Burns, Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola.
"This is a very important year for England, with the Six Nations and the Saxons games to look forward to so there are some great opportunities for the players to demonstrate their club form at international level. The summer tour to Argentina will also be a great chance for those players pushing for a place, especially with some of our Senior squad hopefully going with the Lions, and chances will undoubtedly arise as we hope to play two midweek games as well as the two Tests.”
The Senior squad will attend a training camp at West Park Leeds RFC between Sunday, January 20 and Friday, January 25 before meeting up at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot on Sunday, January 27 to prepare for England’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, February 2 (4pm).
The Saxons will meet up on Monday, January 21 at Surrey Sports Park ahead of their match against the 02 Ireland Wolfhounds in Galway on Friday, January 25 (7.35pm).
The England Under-20s Elite Player Squad will be announced via email at 1200 on Thursday, January 10.
The full squads are on the next page…