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Ford, Nowell, Watson and Slater in England's RBS 6 Nations squad

08 January 2014

  • George Ford replaces Toby Flood as the third fly half in RBS 6 Nations squad
  • Young talents Jack Nowell, Ed Slater and Anthony Watson also called-up
Bath Rugby fly half George Ford offloads to wing Anthony Watson

Photo: Getty Images

Bath Rugby fly half George Ford is the only change to Stuart Lancaster’s latest Senior England Elite Player Squad, replacing France-bound Toby Flood.

England Under 18 and England Under 20 graduate Ford is promoted from the England Saxons squad on permanent basis while eight others are called-up from the second-string group for the RBS 6 Nations as replacements for a raft of injured players.

Northampton Saints centre Luther Burrell, Exeter Chiefs flanker Tom Johnson, Gloucester Rugby wing Jonny May, London Wasps loose-head prop Matt Mullan, Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell, Leicester Tigers lock Ed Slater and Sale Sharks tight-head prop Henry Thomas replace Manusamoa Tuilagi (chest), Tom Croft (foot), Marland Yarde (hip), Alex Corbisiero (knee), Christian Wade (foot), Geoff Parling (shoulder) and David Wilson (calf) respectively.

Also, Bath Rugby wing Anthony Watson – who trained with the senior squad during the QBE Internationals last autumn – has been selected in the Saxons in place of Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby) and is immediately promoted into the Senior Squad as an injury replacement for Ben Foden (foot).

Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell, who has been named in England's squad for the RBS 6 Nations

Photo: Getty Images

In addition, Northampton Saints fly half Stephen Myler, Bath Rugby hooker Rob Webber and Saracens scrum half Richard Wigglesworth will train with the Senior squad.

Lancaster said: “I am delighted for George who is rewarded for his form for Bath and we are excited about including him in the Senior Elite Player Squad. 

“We have kept changes to a minimum because we believe that this squad can take us forward into 2015 and we are hopeful that some of those injured may be available before the end of the Six Nations and certainly for the New Zealand tour [in June].

Toby Flood is expected to join a Top 14 outfit when his Leicester Tigers contract expires at the end of the season. Lancaster has met the fly half on a number of occasions to outline his desire to continue picking him for England, but said he respects the 28 year-old’s decision.

Leicester Tigers fly half Toby Flood, omitted from England's latest Elite Player Squad

Photo: Getty Images

“I have met Toby Flood several times and told him I really wanted him to stay at Leicester and play for England,” Lancaster said. “He has made a lifestyle choice and we respect that but given the RFU’s policy of not selecting players based overseas save for exceptional circumstances it was important that we allow others such as George Ford to progress.

“Stephen Myler has a chance to lay down a marker when he trains with us while we have decided that Freddie Burns should get more international game time with the Saxons against the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds at Kingsholm on January 25, while Rob Webber and Richard Wigglesworth will give us some depth to our training.”

The average age of the RBS 6 Nations training squad is 24, with 11 of them 23 or under.

Saracens centre Bradley Barritt is a notable returnee to the group after recovering from an ankle injury which kept him out of November's QBE Internationals.

The 35-man RBS 6 Nations squad assemble at Pennyhill Park on Monday, January 20, after rounds five and six of the Heineken and Amiln Challenge Cups.

England RBS 6 Nations fixtures

Saturday, February 1: France v England, Stade de France (5pm, live on BBC Sport)
Saturday, February 8: Scotland v England, Murrayfield (5pm, live on BBC Sport)
Saturday, February 22: England v Ireland, Twickenham (4pm, live on BBC Sport)
Sunday, March 9: England v Wales, Twickenham (3pm, live on BBC Sport)
Saturday, March 15: England v Italy, Stadio Olimpico (12.30pm, live on BBC Sport)

England RBS 6 Nations squad (35)

Forwards (18)

David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (17)

Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

England Senior EPS (33)

Forwards (17)

David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints)
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (16)

Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Christian Wade (London Wasps)
Marland Yarde (London Irish)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)