Six Nations 2015: Henry Slade and Henry Thomas called up by England
Stuart Lancaster brings in cover for injured duo Kyle Eastmond and David Wilson ahead of Wales clash
Stuart Lancaster has called up England Saxons duo Henry Slade and Henry Thomas to his senior England squad.
Slade, 21, played an important role in the Saxons’ 18-9 over Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork on Friday night, scoring the opening try and setting up Christian Wade for the second as well as adding eight points off the tee.
The Exeter Chiefs youngster has played most of his club rugby at outside-centre, but played at outside-half when an England XV played the Barbarians at Twickenham last June.
With England having three outside-half options in George Ford, Stephen Myler and Danny Cipriani able to mitigate the loss of Saracens star Owen Farrell, Lancaster has to plug a midfield hole with a number of centres out injured.
So Slade will provide cover for Bath’s Kyle Eastmond, who has a shoulder problem and is expected to miss England’s opening Six Nations clash with Wales in Cardiff on Friday.
Eastmond’s Bath team-mate Henry Thomas, who also has a solid game against the Wolfhounds, is drafted in as cover as prop David Wilson receives treatment for a neck problem.
Lancaster revealed that neither Eastmond nor Northampton Saints flanker Tom Wood requires surgery for their respective injuries.
“We are hoping that David’s injury will settle down but we need to consider our options at tight head over the next few days and Henry’s form deserves consideration.” Lancaster said.
“Kyle’s scan showed that he does not need surgery but he is not back training so we have the option to bring Henry [Slade] in on the back of a good performance out in Cork.
“Tom also does not require an operation so he is being treated in camp for his ankle injury and is making good progress.
“He should come into consideration over the next week or so.”
Slade and Thomas will be joined at England’s Pennyhill Park base by Bath centre Sam Burgess, who was also involved in the Saxons win.
The former rugby league star failed to shine despite starting the match and his involvement with the senior squad is aimed at continuing his development in rugby union.
“Sam will just come into camp for two days to further his rugby experience before returning to Bath on Monday evening to get more game time with the club over the next few weeks,” Lancaster added.
“He is still learning the game and this is an opportunity to help his development.”