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Ashton returns for Monye as Lancaster names his England squad

Chris Ashton has been selected in place of Ugo Monye in the 23-man squad to face Fiji. Ashton is the only change made by Stuart Lancaster from the 23 who faced Fiji at the weekend.

Ashton missed out against Fiji after he was given a one week ban by the RFU disciplinary panel following his third yellow card of the season.

Charlie Sharples had come in for him on the right wing and had originally been expected to step aside when Ashton returned. However after an excellent performance in the 54-12 win against Fiji, including two try’s, he has put himself in the frame ahead of Monye who had a poor game.

If, as seems likely, Ashton starts on the right wing, Sharples will have to move to the right wing, though Lancaster has said that Mike Brown may be given a chance after impressing on the wing as a substitute against Fiji.

With Alex Goode in such fine form he seems likely to start again, but Lancaster is known to be keen to give Brown a go, and squeezing him in on the wing may be the only option.

Speaking on his wing selections, Lancaster said:

“We had to make some tough decisions within the 23 and we are in a good position to be able to select from a largely fit squad.”

“It is tough on Ugo, who misses out this time, but Chris has been excellent in training and Charlie is rewarded for his performance at the weekend.”

Fit again Alex Corbisiero and Jonathan Joseph were sent back to their clubs again along with Anthony Allen, Mauritz Botha, Freddie Burns, Lee Dickson, Phil Dowson, James Haskell, Courtney Lawes, Ben Morgan, George Robson, Billy Twelvetrees and the aforementioned Monye.

Lancaster explained that Corbsiero’s lack of game time was keeping him out, while the form of Barritt and Tuilagi had been too good to reintroduce Joseph:

“Jonathan Joseph has come through training but Brad Barritt and Manu did well in the centres and, similar to Alex, it would be good for him to get some game time.”

It seems likely then that Lancaster will not make too many changes to his starting line up, with Ashton coming in for Monye, while Brown and Sharples battle it out for the other wing slot.

Tom Wood and Joe Launchbury are also thought to be pushing hard for a starting spot, with Tom Johnson and Tom Palmer thought to be the players most vulnerable to their advances, it would be a surprise though if Lancaster changes both.

Possible Test team to face Australia:

15. Alex Goode (Saracens) 14. Chris Ashton (Saracens) 13. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester) 12. Brad Barritt (Saracens) 11. Charlie Sharples (Gloucester) 10. Toby Flood (Leicester) 9. Danny Care (Harlequins)

1. Joe Marler (Harlequins) 2. Tom Youngs (Leicester) 3. Dan Cole (Leicester) 4. Joe Launchbury (Wasps) 5. Geoff Parling (Leicester) 6. Tom Johnson (Exeter) 7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, Captain) 8. Thomas Waldrom

Replacements:

16. David Paice (London Irish) 17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens) 18. David Wilson (Bath) 19. Tom Palmer (Wasps) 20. Tom Wood (Northampton) 21. Ben Youngs (Leicester) 22. Owen Farrell (Saracens) 23. Mike Brown (Harlequins)

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