Autumn internationals: Three uncapped players in England squad
Head coach Stuart Lancaster looks to the future as Chris Ashton and Danny Cipriani miss out
Stuart Lancaster has named three uncapped players in his 33-man England squad for next month’s QBE Internationals.
The England head coach has also dropped Saracens wing Chris Ashton and left out his team-mate Dave Strettle along with Wasps wing Christian Wade despite all three impressing in the opening round of European Rugby Champions Cup last weekend.
In their place, is uncapped Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni, who has lit up the Aviva Premiership this season, along with familiar faces Jonny May and Jack Nowell – who were England’s first-choice wingers during the Six Nations earlier this year – as well as Harlequins’ Marland Yarde.
Saracens prop George Kruis and Northampton Saints flanker Calum Clark, who Lancaster coached at Leeds, are the other uncapped players to make the squad to face New Zealand, Samoa, South Africa, and Australia in November.
“The first six rounds of the Premiership and opening round of European action have given us plenty to think about as coaches with a lot of players putting their hand up for selection and we are excited by the options available to us,” said Lancaster.
“We are still monitoring a number of players injury-wise and with another intensive round of European games to come, including the Wasps-Harlequins and Sale-Clermont games on Sunday, there are likely to be additions to the squad after the weekend as we move into the training camp and towards the games – so there is plenty to be decided before the New Zealand match comes around.
“We have four quality sides coming to Twickenham for this QBE Internationals series and we are really looking forward to playing at home in front of our passionate supporters as we continue the build up to the World Cup in 12 months’ time.”
George Ford, one of seven Bath players in the squad, is expected to challenge Saracens star Owen Farrell for the 10 jersey, with Northampton’s Stephen Myler in as cover, while Sale’s Danny Cipriani misses out altogether.
Despite questions over his form, Gloucester captain Billy Twelvetrees makes the squad as does Bath centre Kyle Eastmond after receiving the all-clear following his early departure in Europe at the weekend.
Despite no longer leading his club, Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw continues to captain England, having led England in 27 of 30 Tests.
“Chris continues to lead from the front and with other players now stepping up into captaincy and senior roles at their clubs, we are building a team of leaders who can take England forward,” Lancaster added.
As expected, Bath centre Jonathan Joseph – who ran in Bath’s only try in their thrashing at the hands of Glasgow Warriors on Saturday – replaces injured Leicester Tigers wrecking ball Manu Tuilagi.
“We have included Jonathan as an injury replacement for Manu,” Lancaster said. “It is obviously disappointing to lose Manu, but JJ has been in great form and deserves this chance.
“Our medics will continue to work closely Leicester’s and ensure that Manu is supported in his rehabilitation from his injury.
“There are a number of players unavailable for this series because of long term injury, but they are all on the road to recovery and, as always, it gives the opportunity for others to come in and stake their claim.”
England squad for the QBE internationals (33):
Forwards: Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Rob Webber (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bath), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Calum Clark (Northampton), James Haskell (Wasps), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton).
Backs: Danny Care (Harlequins) Lee Dickson (Northampton), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Stephen Myler (Northampton), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Luther Burrell (Northampton), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath), Marland Yarde (Harlequins).
Unavailable players through injury: Alex Corbisiero (shoulder), Dan Cole (neck), Tom Croft (knee), Tom Johnson (neck), Geoff Parling (concussion), Chris Pennell (groin), Ed Slater (knee), Mako Vunipola (knee), Tom Youngs (shoulder).
Opposition (all matches at Twickenham):
Saturday 8 November vs New Zealand, kick-off 14:30
Saturday 15 November vs South Africa, kick-off: 14:30
Saturday 22 November vs Samoa, kick-off: 19:00
Saturday 29 November vs Australia, kick-off: 14:30