Steve Borthwick axe a step in the right direction
Former England captain Steve Borthwick has been omitted from Martin Johnson’s latest Elite Performance Squad announced today.
The Saracens lock, 30, had skippered in England in the majority of the matches during Martin Johnson’s tenure before an injury rulled him out at the end of the Six Nations.
Lewis Moody will continue as skipper after the Leicester back-row deputised during this winter’s Australasian tour.
The door has now been opened for the likes of Northampton’s Courtney Lawes and Leicester’s Tom Croft to take over in the second-row.
In the backs, winger Ugo Monye, who 12 months ago was plying his trade with the British and Irish Lions, has also been overlooked, with the surprise inclusion Wasps’ Dom Waldouck.
Impressive trio Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Ben Youngs have also been included alongside rugby league convert Shontayne Hape.
This squad is an indication that Johnson is at long last putting some faith in his younger players, while also retaining the experience of Jonny Wilkinson, Simon Shaw and Moody.
Full Elite Performance Squad:
Backs: D Armitage, C Ashton, M Banahan, D Care, M Cueto, T Flood, R Flutey, B Foden, S Hape, D Strettle, M Tindall, D Waldouck, J Wilkinson, B Youngs
Forwards: D Attwood, G Chuter, D Cole, T Croft, P Doran Jones, N Easter, H Fourie, D Hartley, J Haskell, C Lawes, L Moody (c), T Palmer, T Payne, S Shaw, A Sheridan, S Thompson, D Wilson, J Worsley
Backs: N Abendanon, A Allen, B Barritt, S Geraghty, A Goode, D HIpkiss, P Hodgson, C Hodgson, U MOnye, S Myler, J Simpson, J Simpson-Danial, M Tait, R Wigglesworth
Forwards: S Armitage, D Bell, S Borthwick, A Corbisiero, J Crane, L Deacon, P Dowson, J Golding, L Mears, M Mullan, L Narraway, G Parling, T Rees, C Robshaw, A Saull, D Ward-smith, R Webber, T Wood