Fiji

Launchbury in line for Test debut

Tue, 06 Nov 2012 19:40
Joelaunchburytraining Makovunipolatraining Mouritzbothatraining
Saturday is a great opportunity for us to put a marker down
Quote-end

London Wasps lock Joe Launchbury is set to make his England debut after being included in a 23-man squad for the Test against Fiji on Saturday.

The England Under-20 graduate was called-up to the squad as injury cover on Monday but has done enough to impress the coaches and remain in contention for a first Test appearance at the weekend.

The 21-year-old is joined in the group by Saracens prop Mako Vunipola, a former colleague at age-grade level.

Under the agreement with Premiership Rugby, ten players including South African-born Saracens lock Mouritz Botha will return to their clubs and will be available for provincial duty, while three players – Dylan Hartley (knee), Courtney Lawes (knee) and Jonathan Joseph (ankle) – will return to Pennyhill with the squad for treatment on their respective injuries.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We have had a good two days back at Pennyhill Park and the players have been very focused on delivering against Fiji.

“Saturday is a great opportunity for us to put a marker down and deliver a quality performance. It’s great to have young players such as Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury get their opportunities in the matchday 23 and we are excited about the potential of the squad.

“Under the agreement with Premiership Rugby we are releasing some players back, including Alex Corbisiero, who will play for London Irish and we are looking forward to seeing how he goes."

England squad:

Forwards (13):
Dan Cole, Tom Johnson, Joe Launchbury, Joe Marler, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, David Paice, Chris Robshaw, Mako Vunipola, Thomas Waldrom, David Wilson, Tom Wood, Tom Youngs.
Backs (10): Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Danny Care, Owen Farrell, Toby Flood, Alex Goode, Ugo Monye, Charlie Sharples, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Ben Youngs.

Players released back to their clubs:

Anthony Allen, Mouritz Botha, Freddie Burns, Alex Corbisiero, Lee Dickson, Phil Dowson, James Haskell, Ben Morgan, George Robson, Billy Twelvetrees.

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