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Ford earns England call-up

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 15:11
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George Ford was on Thursday included in a 30-man England Senior Elite Players Squad (EPS) ahead of the Six Nations.

Ford replaces Leicester Tigers’ Toby Flood in the only change to the mid-season squad under the Rugby Football Union’s agreement with Premiership Rugby Ltd.

Ford’s promotion is accompanied by call-ups for eight other England Saxons who will, pending fitness following European Cup and European Challenge Cup Rounds Five and Six, join the Six Nations training squad at Pennyhill Park on Monday, January 20 as injury replacements for players who will remain in the Senior EPS.

Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Jonny May (Gloucester), Matt Mullan (London Wasps), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks) and Anthony Watson (Bath) replace Manusamoa Tuilagi (chest), Tom Croft (knee), Marland Yarde (hip), Alex Corbisiero (knee), Christian Wade (foot), Geoff Parling (shoulders), David Wilson (calf) and Ben Foden (knee) respectively.  

In addition, Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), Rob Webber (Bath) and Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens) will train with the senior squad.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “I am delighted for George [Ford] 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.

“I have met Toby Flood several times and told him I really wanted him to stay at Leicester and play for England. 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 Ireland Wolfhounds at Kingsholm on January 25, while Rob Webber and Richard Wigglesworth will give us some depth to our training.”

Other changes to the England Saxons EPS see Nathan Catt (Bath), Mullan (London Wasps), Will Collier (Harlequins), Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints), Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Trinder (Gloucester) and Watson replace Kearnan Myall (London Wasps), Nick Wood (Gloucester), Paul Doran Jones (Harlequins), Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), Ford, David Strettle (Saracens) and Charlie Sharples (Gloucester) respectively.

A group of senior England players coming into camp for the Six Nations and the Saxons squad for the games against Ireland Wolfhounds and against Scotland A in Scoutstoun, Glasgow on January 31 will be announced on Friday, January 17.  

England Senior Elite Player 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), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), George Ford (Bath), Alex Goode (Saracens), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Marland Yarde (London Irish), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

35-man England Six Nations squad (Assembling at Pennyhill Park Hotel on Monday, January 20):

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

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

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