Rugby

Lancaster drops 3 for Samoa

2014-11-19 11:13
Stuart Lancaster (AFP)

London - England coach Stuart Lancaster dropped Billy Vunipola and Danny Care, while leaving out the concussed Kyle Eastmond, from the matchday 23 he announced on Tuesday for Saturday's international against Samoa at Twickenham.

Vunipola was left out after repeatedly knocking-on during England's 31-28 loss to South Africa at Twickenham last weekend, with the No 8 replaced by Wasps back-row forward James Haskell.

Eastmond's spot in the squad went to fellow centre Billy Twelvetrees while scrum-half Care was omitted following a poor display against South Africa where his slow pass paved the way for Springbok centre Jan Serfontein's intercept try.

Saracens' Richard Wigglesworth has been called up and will compete with Ben Youngs for the No 9 shirt against the Samoans.

Lancaster is due to name his starting XV and bench on Wednesday, with England looking to bounce back from successive three-point defeats by both world champions New Zealand and South Africa this month ahead of next week's November finale against 2015 World Cup pool opponents Australia.

"We always wanted to use these four games to look at options in our squad and Billy, Richard and James have been in great form for their clubs and pressing hard in training," Lancaster said Tuesday.

Eastmond's concussion against the Springboks has left England needing to form yet another combination in their perennial problem area of midfield.

Twelvetrees, however, could find himself on the bench after Lancaster indicated he was open to the idea of moving fly-half Owen Farrell to inside centre and giving back-up stand-off George Ford a chance to show what he could do in the No 10 shirt.

Haskell won the last of his 51 caps in the first Test away to New Zealand in June, only to be dropped for the second and third games of the 3-0 series loss.

The Wasps captain will look to bring the dynamism he has demonstrated at club level to a struggling England back-row who have found themselves bested at the breakdown lately.

England have lost their last five Tests, albeit all against New Zealand and South Africa, leading some pundits to question if they quite have the match nous and class to win the World Cup on home soil next year.

However, Haskell said: "Just because we lost on Saturday doesn't mean we're going to lose at the World Cup.

"We're aware that we have to develop and we're working hard to do that. I have every confidence we'll push those teams and get the results."

England squad to face Samoa

Forwards

Dave Attwood (Bath), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), James Haskell (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Rob Webber (Bath), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton)

Backs

Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Jonny May (Gloucester), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Anthony Watson (Bath), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester)

Read more on:    england  |  stuart lancaster  |  rugby
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