Stuart Lancaster has named his 23 man match-day squad ahead of Friday’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
This selection has been one of the most difficult during his tenure owing to the number of senior players being unavailable due to injury. Owen Farrell, David Wilson, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and Ben Morgan were all ruled out before the 30 man training squad was announced.
The much talked about fly half position has been taken by George Ford with the return to international rugby for Danny Cipriani slightly delayed as he is set to start on what is an experienced replacements bench which includes call ups for Tom Croft, Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Billy Twelvetrees and Nick Easter who’s last appearance was at the 2011 World Cup.
The forward pack, where England have been most effected by injuries, has been bolstered by the return of Tight Head Prop Dan Cole and the imposing Billy Vunipola. James Haskell is also due to start after showing impressive form with Wasps this season.
In the backs Lancaster seems to have moved away from the big crash ball centres he has selected previously and gone with Luther Burrell and Jonathon Joseph. This maybe to make the most of speedsters Anthony Watson and Jonny May.
15. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 33 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)
13. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 6 caps)
12. Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints, 7 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 11 caps)
10. George Ford (Bath Rugby, 6 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 42 caps)
1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 26 caps)
2. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 61 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)
4. David Attwood (Bath Rugby, 16 caps)
5. George Kruis (Saracens, 4 caps)
6. James Haskell (Wasps, 53 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (captain, Harlequins, 32 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 12 caps)
16. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 17 caps)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 15 caps)
18. Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons, 6 caps)
19. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers, 38 caps)
20. Nick Easter (Harlequins, 47 caps)
21. Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 16 caps)
22. Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks, 9 caps)
23. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 16 caps)
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