Lancaster plugs England gaps

Wed, 26 Sep 2012 09:37
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He's looking in good nick

Stuart Lancaster has announced that Bath prop David Wilson is to replace Matt Stevens in his senior player elite squad, with Stevens' Saracens teammate Mako Vunipola promoted into the Saxons group.

The England head coach was a prop light in his 32-man squad after 44-cap Stevens announced he was retiring from the international game with immediate effect on August 9 and, as expected, he looked to the Saxons for a replacement.

Lancaster said both players deserve the chance to step up after impressive starts to the season.

"It's a great opportunity for David, he's had a few injury problems but he's benefited from working under Toby Booth and Neal Hatley at Bath, with their good conditioning there," he said.

"He's looking in good nick, has started the season well and deserves this chance.

"Mako has been involved in the age-grade programme for a long time, and his brother Billy is not doing too badly either to be fair.

"Mako has played well for the Under-20 and now has the opportunity to step into the Saxons and although the programme doesn't start until the Six Nations, if he keeps playing well I'm sure he'll force his case, and, if not by then, hopefully on the tour to Argentina."