England recall Cipriani, Easter

2015-01-21 14:08
Danny Cipriani (Getty Images)

London - Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter were both recalled by England when coach Stuart Lancaster announced on Wednesday his 34-man training squad for the Six Nations opener away to Wales on February 6.

Meanwhile rugby league convert Sam Burgess saw his bid to gain a place in hosts England's squad for this year's World Cup received a boost when he was selected for the second-string Saxons squad after a handful of rugby union matches for Bath.

Talented flyhalf Cipriani featured in two of England's three Tests in New Zealand in June, ending a six-year international exile, but was omitted from the November international campaign.

However, the 27-year-old has impressed for club side Sale so far this season.

Although he had been linked with a move to French and European champions Toulon, Cipriani may opt to stay at Sale if he feels he is still in contention for a World Cup place, with England upholding a policy of refusing to select overseas-based players save only in "exceptional circumstances".

Now Cipriani will look to establish himself in a squad where George Ford and Owen Farrell are the first-choice fly-halves and Stephen Myler is also vying for the No 10 shirt.

Easter has not played for England since Lancaster took charge after the team's 2011 World Cup exit, with the Harlequins back-row reportedly making the infamous comment "that's 35,000 down the toilet" following the quarter-final loss to France.

However, he has been in fine club form and with specialist No 8 Ben Morgan out with a broken leg, Lancaster has decided to revive the 36-year-old Easter's international career.

"It's great to welcome back some of those players unavailable for the QBE internationals in the autumn," said Lancaster.

"They offer us a lot of quality and experience, so too Nick Easter, who has played well for Harlequins.

"With the injury to Ben Morgan, both he and Tom Waldrom in the Saxons will provide us with specialist number eight options alongside Billy Vunipola.

"That's something we feel we need going into the tournament."

Former South Sydney star Burgess is set to play for the Saxons against the Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork on January 30.

As for his senior squad midfield options, Lancaster has picked Bath's Jonathan Joseph to replace the injured Manu Tuilagi.

Up front Lancaster has brought in Leicester's Graham Kitchener to the second row, with lock Courtney Lawes set to miss at least the first two matches of the Six Nations with ankle trouble and Joe Launchbury out of the whole tournament with a neck problem.

Although the squad is officially for one match only, those who perform well in Cardiff are likely to keep their places as England face Italy at Twickenham just eight days after their Millennium Stadium opener.

England squad

Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton, Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Sale), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Jonny May (Gloucester), Stephen Myler (Northampton), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Anthony Watson (Bath), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester)

Dave Attwood (Bath), Calum Clark (Northampton), Dan Cole (Leicester), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton, James Haskell (Wasps), Graham Kitchener (Leicester), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton), Tom Youngs (Leicester)

Read more on:    danny cipriani  |  rugby

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