Six Nations 2015: Nick Easter and Danny Cipriani retained by England
Stuart Lancaster recalls old faces to face Wales, but both players are expected to start on the bench
Nick Easter has been named in Stuart Lancaster’s final 25 players for England’s Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on Friday.
The 36 year-old won the last of his 47 caps in the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to France in New Zealand.
Everyone named is fit and ready to go and we are looking forward to finalising our preparations over the next few days
There is also room in the squad for in-form Sale Sharks outside-half Danny Cipriani, who last pulled on an jersey last summer on their 3-0 series defeat to New Zealand.
There is no place for Northampton Saints quartet Stephen Myler, Alex Corbisiero, Calum Clark and Christian Day, who have all returned to the club and could find themselves in LV=Cup action against Wasps on Saturday.
But Leicester Tigers trio Dan Cole, Tom Croft and Tom Youngs all return, as does Saracens loosehead prop Mako Vunipola.
“Everyone named is fit and ready to go and we are looking forward to finalising our preparations over the next few days,” Lancaster said.
“While we have certain players unavailable through injury, it’s great to be able to welcome back guys who missed the QBE Internationals such as Dan Cole, Mako Vunipola and Tom Youngs.
“Their experience, alongside that of players like Tom Croft and Nick Easter, will be invaluable against a strong Welsh team.”
Wales head coach Warren Gatland took the unusual decision of naming his match-day team 48 hours early on Monday after Jonathan Davies overcame a glute problem to take his place in the midfield.
England, however, have had to battle a growing injury list with six of the starters from last year’s 29-18 win over Wales at Twickenham absent, including forwards Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes and Ben Morgan, as well as Saracens star Owen Farrell, who has just had surgery on a medial knee problem.
Lancaster will name his 23-man match-day squad on Wednesday morning.
England squad (25)
Forwards (14): Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
Backs (11): Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).