Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter were both recalled by England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster on Wednesday, as he announced his 34-man training squad for the Six Nations opener away to Wales on February 6. Duration: 00:59
Rugby Union: England recall Cipriani and Easter
RugbyU: England recall Cipriani and Easter
ATTENTION – ADDS quotes ///
LONDON, Jan 21, 2015 (AFP) – Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter were both recalled by England when coach Stuart Lancaster announced Wednesday his 34-man training squad for the Six Nations opener away to Wales on February 6.
Talented fly-half Cipriani featured in two of England’s three Tests in New Zealand in June, ending a six-year international exile, but was omitted from the November international campaign.
However, the 27-year-old has impressed for club side Sale so far this season amidst speculation he could join French and European champions Toulon if he fails to revive his Test career.
Now Cipriani will look to establish himself in a squad where George Ford and Owen Farrell are the first-choice fly-halves and Stephen Myler is also vying for the No 10 shirt.
“It’s a chance for Danny to come in and put a marker down,” Lancaster told a Twickenham news conference.
Easter has not played for England since Lancaster took charge after the team’s 2011 World Cup exit, with the Harlequins back-row reportedly making the infamous comment “that’s £35,000 down the toilet” following the quarter-final loss to France.
However, he has been in fine club form and with specialist No 8 Ben Morgan out with a broken leg, Lancaster has decided to revive the 36-year-old Easter’s international career.
“Nick has not been involved before with me,” said Lancaster. “Billy Vunipola was outstanding at the weekend but we need some specialist No 8s and Nick, to be fair, has been outstanding and deserves a chance to see if he can replicate that again at international level.
“They are both are in the mix — and we’ll see how they go.
“We base a lot of our decisions on the training. There is no definitive decision on who starts and who goes on the bench yet because we’ve got that two-week period to prepare for the Wales game.”
– Burgess boost –
Rugby League convert Sam Burgess bid to gain a place in hosts England’s squad for this year’s World Cup received a boost when he was selected for the second-string Saxons squad after a handful of rugby union matches.
Former South Sydney star Burgess, playing at centre for Bath, is set to feature for the Saxons against the Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork on January 30.
“It’s a steep learning curve and for him to be involved in the Saxons is great for him,” said England backs coach Andy Farrell.
“We’re pleased with his progress, certainly,” added Farrell, himself a former dual code international.
In his senior squad midfield, Lancaster has picked Bath’s Jonathan Joseph to replace the injured Manu Tuilagi.
Up front Lancaster has brought in Leicester’s Graham Kitchener to the second row, with lock Courtney Lawes set to miss at least the first two matches of the Six Nations because of ankle trouble and Joe Launchbury out of the whole tournament with a neck problem.
Although this squad is officially for one match only, those who perform well in the Cardiff matchday 23 and in training are likely to keep their places as England face Italy at Twickenham just eight days after their Millennium Stadium clash.
Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton, Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Sale), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Jonny May (Gloucester), Stephen Myler (Northampton), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Anthony Watson (Bath), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester)
Dave Attwood (Bath), Calum Clark (Northampton), Dan Cole (Leicester), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton, James Haskell (Wasps), Graham Kitchener (Leicester), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton), Tom Youngs (Leicester)