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Lancaster announces 23, with Twelvetrees in line to make his debut

Stuart Lancaster has released nine players back to their clubs ahead of England’s clash with Scotland on Saturday.

The remaining 23 will assemble at Pennyhill Park tomorrow where they will train before the starting XV is announced at 10.15am on Thursday.

Mouritz Botha, Lee Dickson, Ben Foden, Jonathan Joseph, Matt Kvesic, Ugo Monye, Henry Thomas, Billy Vunipola and Thomas Waldrom are the unfortunate players to drop out, meaning that Billy Twelvetrees will be in the matchday 23 for the first time and will almost certainly win his first cap.

With Tuilagi out injured, Joseph omitted and Twelvetrees in the 23, much of the debate will focus on which combination will be used in the problematic 10, 12 and 13 roles for England.

It can be assumed that either Flood or Farrell will start at fly half, with the centres coming from either Brad Barritt, Twelvetrees, or whichever of Flood or Farrell does not plan at 10.

The big surprise on the omissions list is Ben Foden, who loses out to David Strettle. It means that Lancaster will be left with a straight choice between retaining Mike Brown on the left wing, or bringing Strettle into the starting line up.

Dylan Hartley returns to the fold after he missed out in the autumn and will face a tough battle for the number two jersey with Tom Youngs. Meanwhile Tom’s brother Ben is involved in a similarly tight tussle with Danny Care for the number nine shirt.

Aside from those areas though, selection seems fairly obvious, though of course anything can change between now and when Stuart Lancaster names his side.

Interim Scotland manager Scott Johnson announced his first squad earlier today, with Sean Maitland set to make his debut, while Kelly Brown leads the side from openside flanker.

England Squad v Scotland:

Forwards:

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers) 
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) 
James Haskell (London Wasps) 
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps) 
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) 
Joe Marler (Harlequins) 
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) 
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers) 
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) 
Mako Vunipola (Saracens) 
David Wilson (Bath Rugby) 
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) 
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs:

Chris Ashton (Saracens) 
Brad Barritt (Saracens) 
Mike Brown (Harlequins) 
Danny Care (Harlequins) 
Owen Farrell (Saracens) 
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers) 
Alex Goode (Saracens) 
David Strettle (Saracens) 
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby) 
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Released Players:

Mouritz Botha (Saracens) 
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints) 
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints) 
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish) 
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors) 
Ugo Monye (Harlequins) 
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks) 
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps) 
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)

*Manu Tuilagi will remain with the squad for injury treatment.

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