England

Bad boy Hartley back; Haskell axed

Thu, 01 Aug 2013 11:19
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I had a long hard think about it
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England coach Stuart Lancaster recalled bad boy Dylan Hartley, but flank James Haskell has been given the boot.

Lancaster made six changes to England's senior elite player squad on Thursday.

Lock David Attwood (Bath), flank Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), No.8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens), centre Kyle Eastmond (Bath), along with wings Christian Wade (London Wasps) and Marland Yarde (London Irish) step up into the 33-man group.

All bar Attwood won first caps on England's successful mid-year to Argentina, when the Pumas were beaten 32-3 in Salta and 51-26 in Buenos Aires.

Hartley was named in the squad and will return to action in September after an 11-week suspension following his sending off in the Premiership Final.

It was a moment of foul-mouthed madness that also cost the Northampton hooker a place on the British and Irish Lions' succesful tour of Australia - where they won the series 2-1.

The verbal tirade was directed at referee Wayne Barnes. Hartley was found guilty of calling Barnes 'a f****** cheat' following the award of a penalty against Northampton just before half-time for a collapsed scrum.

The hooker pleaded not guilty, having stated post-match that his comment had been directed at his opposite number, Tom Youngs. That was not believed by the panel, chaired by Jeff Blackett.

While Hartley has been forgiven, but the 28-year-old Haskell, who has 47 England caps, has dropped down to the Saxons, as have Jonathan Joseph and David Strettle.

"This was the toughest EPS selection we've had to make with fierce competition for places in every area of the squad after an excellent mid-year for England players at all levels," Lancaster said.

"Twelve current England players were part of a victorious British & Irish Lions tour, eight others won their first caps in Argentina, a number of rested senior players will have benefited from their break and the future looks healthy after our Under 20 side won the Junior World Championship for the first time.

"Christian Wade and Marland Yarde brought their outstanding Premiership form to the tour, Kyle Eastmond showed the potential he has and by including him in the squad we get a chance to work with him some more as we build towards the year-end internationals.

"Up front David Attwood adds a physical presence to the second row and in Matt Kvesic and Billy Vunipola we have young back row players who will challenge our more established back row players hard."

About the Hartley decision, Lancaster said: "I had a long hard think about it and a long conversation with him.

"I wanted to be reassured that he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong. He accepts that and he knows he needs a strong start to the season with Northampton as changes can be made with Rob Webber and David Paice pushing hard.

"Unfortunately we can only have 33 in the Senior EPS but those who just missed out have plenty to offer. They are still very much in the international picture and there is flexibility built into the system that facilitates that."

There are first England Saxons call-ups for Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), one of the 2013 Junior World Championship winners, and Luke Wallace (Harlequins) and the squad also includes the return of 2007 World Cup finalist Mathew Tait (Leicester Tigers).

Lancaster said: "Jack Nowell played well for his club, he played well for England, he's an exciting young player and the sooner we get him into the squad and start working with him, the better.

"Mathew Tait was in great from at the end of last season and he is a quality player. With the players we've got in the back three he's going to add to that and put pressure on the ones above.

"We've got some young forwards coming through. The likes of Luke Wallace, Will Fraser, Ed Slater and George Kruis are the types of players we want pushing through, then hopefully their form and fitness will push them through into the senior squad.

"The task for all of them and those in the Saxons is to be in peak form and pushing for places in the team for the Internationals against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand in November. We very much see this as a 65-man squad and we regularly see players pushing into the Squad and the team from the Saxons. Form and fitness will be the deciding factor in November."

Both squads will meet at Loughborough later this month for a three-day training camp and the senior squad reconvenes a fortnight before facing Australia on November 2.

The Saxons are due to face the Ireland Wolfhounds and Scotland A early in 2014.

England squad:

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

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

Saxons squad:

Forwards: Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers), Paul Doran Jones (Harlequins), Will Fraser (Saracens), James Haskell (London Wasps), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), George Kruis (Saracens), Kearnan Myall (London Wasps), David Paice (London Irish), George Robson (Harlequins), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), Luke Wallace (Harlequins), Rob Webber (Bath), Nick Wood (Gloucester).

Backs: Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Elliot Daly (London Wasps), George Ford (Bath), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Jonny May (Gloucester), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), David Strettle (Saracens), Mathew Tait (Leicester Tigers), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens).

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