England have announced their 32 man Elite Player Squad (EPS) and Saxons squad for the forthcoming season.Â Anthony Allen, Danny Care, Alex Goode, Tom Johnson, Jonathan Joseph, Geoff Parling and Thomas Waldrom have all been called into the senior squad after impressive displays whilst on tour in South Africa.
Notable omissions from the squad are James Haskell, Paul Doran-Jones, David Strettle and Ugo Monye. With the absence of wingers Strettle and Monye, and the presence of only two wingers, Charlie Sharples and Chris Ashton, in the EPS; there is a strong suggestion that theÂ experimentÂ of playing Ben Foden on the wing is likely to continue, particularly given the inclusion of two other full-backs – Mike Brown and Alex Goode.
It may come as a surprise to many to see Haskell in the Saxons, however after almost a year away from the squad before the South Africa tour, it has probably been concluded that it is only fair to ease him back in rather than immediately have him take someone’s place after making himself absent.
Once again there is no out and out seven in the EPS, with Wood, Robshaw and Dowson likely to compete for the shirt in their less favoured position. Waldrom will compete with Ben Morgan for the 8 shirt, while blindside flanker will be a hugely contested position with the three potential sevens all very comfortable there in addition to Tom Johnson, whoÂ hadÂ aÂ wonderfulÂ tour, and the top class Tom Croft.
The two squads will join up for a training camp at Loughborough in August, where many of the Saxons will want to prove themselves ahead of the Autumn Internationals in order to fill the inevitable injury spaces. It is a particularly young looking squad, especially in the backs, as Stuart Lancaster further emphasises his focus on the 2015 World Cup.
One player who missed out on both squad’s is former agegroup and Saxons centre Dominic Waldouck, who has today announced that he will be joining Northampton Saints after handing in a transfer request to Wasps.
The 24 year old has fallen off the radar a little this year, and by playing Heineken Cup rugby at Saints he will be hoping to be able to recapture his form of 2010 which saw him tour Australia and New Zealand with the England squad.
The Elite player squad has a good look to it for Millfield School, with three former pupils now in the squad, in Captain Chris Robshaw, and new additions Anthony Allen and Jonathan Joseph, while Oakham School now have two representatives again with Tom Croft and Alex Goode.
England elite player squad:Â Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs) Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins) Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Tom Palmer (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers) Rob Webber (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers), Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Alex Goode (Saracens),Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
England Saxons:Â Nathan Catt (Bath), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints), Carl Fearns (Bath), James Gaskell (Sale Sharks), Jamie Gibson (London Irish), Joe Gray (Harlequins), James Haskell (London Wasps), Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors), David Paice (London Irish), George Robson (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Nick Abendanon (Bath), Miles Benjamin (Leicester Tigers), Tom Biggs (Bath), Freddie Burns (Gloucester), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), George Lowe (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester), Rob Miller (Sale Sharks), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), David Strettle (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens).