Chris Robshaw has been again been named as England Captain for the forthcoming Six Nations Championship.
It will be the third time that Robshaw has led England through a Six Nations campaign, indeed of the 22 Tests that Stuart Lancaster has been at the helm for, Robshaw has captained England in 19 of them, missing the 2 Test tour of Argentina to rest and the third Test in South Africa in 2012 due to injury.
On announcing Robshaw as captain, Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said:
â€œChris is in the team on merit as a player first and foremost but he has also shown himself to be an outstanding leader for Harlequins and England. He led us well during the QBE Internationals and I have no doubt that, as he goes into his third RBS 6 Nations as captain, he will do likewise.â€
Robshaw meanwhile was keen to point out that the honour of captaincy remains as strong now as it ever was:
â€œStuart rang me yesterday and, as with every time he has asked me, it is a great privilege. To lead your country is a massive honour but I am fortunate to have a group of players and leaders who support me in that. We want to kick on from the QBE Internationals and we canâ€™t wait for the challenge ahead, starting with a tough away match against France.â€
Lancaster also took the opportunity today to announce the England Saxons 25 man training squad to take on the Irish Wolfhounds on the 25th January at Kingsholm.
EPS member Freddie Burns was included, as per Lancasterâ€™s Six Nations Squad announcement, while Matt Tait is also included, which is sure to excite a few England fans who have missed his creativity in a white shirt.
Lancaster spoke at length on the Saxons squad, explaining just what he is looking for from their matches:
â€œOur philosophy on selection is to give some younger players an opportunity alongside one or two more established players who are looking to push into the Senior squad.â€
â€œIt is a great opportunity for players to put a marker down and show they have the ability to go from club to country and still deliver the club form many of them have been showing. The opportunities ahead of them are clear with a major tour to New Zealand to come this summer before the Rugby World Cup next year.â€
â€œWe have a good blend in the backline with the likes of Henry Slade and Sam Hill stepping up from England Under 20 side that won the Junior World Championship last summer.â€
â€œIn the back three, weâ€™re all excited about seeing Mathew Tait in an England shirt once more and having him, Elliot Daly, Tom Varndell and Semesa Rokoduguni available means weâ€™re strong in that area, and we will rotate the squad so everyone will get an opportunity.â€
â€œWeâ€™ve followed Semesaâ€™s progress since his days in the British Army, heâ€™s excited about playing England after qualifying by residence and his form and the feedback from the Bath coaches has been excellent this season.â€
The Saxons squad will be updated for the match against Scotland A the following week and will likely feature a few new faces.
Forwards: Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)â€¨Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)â€¨Will Collier (Harlequins)â€¨Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints)â€¨Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)â€¨Jamie George (Saracens)â€¨Jamie Gibson (Leicester Tigers)â€¨Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)â€¨George Kruis (Saracens)â€¨Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)â€¨Luke Wallace (Harlequins)â€¨Alex Waller (Northampton Saints)â€¨Dave Ward (Harlequins)â€¨Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).
Backs: Miles Benjamin (Leicester Tigers)â€¨Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)â€¨Elliot Daly (London Wasps)â€¨Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)â€¨Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)â€¨Dave Lewis (Exeter Chiefs)â€¨Joe Simpson (London Wasps)â€¨Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)â€¨Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)â€¨Mathew Tait (Leicester Tigers)â€¨Tom Varndell (London Wasps).