Calum Clark and Billy Twelvetrees get England Six Nations call
Uncapped pair Billy Twelvetrees and Calum Clark have been named in a 33-man England squad for the Six Nations.
Gloucester centre Twelvetrees, 24, has forged an effective club partnership with Freddie Burns, who is one of three fly-halves in the squad.
Clark would almost certainly have toured South Africa last summer had he not been banned for hyperextending the elbow of Leicester's Rob Hawkins in gruesome fashion last March. The Tigers' director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, described the incident at the time as one of the worst he had seen on a rugby pitch. Clark's genuine remorse saved him from a potentially longer ban but he resumed playing only at the start of November.
As in the case of Danny Care, another former Leeds man, who was ejected from the squad last season for off-field misdemeanours, Lancaster is clearly a believer in sporting redemption. He is also set to freshen up his 33-man elite player squad, as he is allowed to do in January, by selecting the Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns, with the 21-year-old Wasps lock Joe Launchbury also becoming a permanent senior squad member for the first time, along with the Saracens prop Mako Vunipola.
"The fact that we have spent significant time deliberating over quite a few players shows how tough the competition is to get into this 65 and the strength in depth that is emerging," said Lancaster.
"We have made some changes to both squads and we feel that reflects the players’ form during the first half of the season."
This is a very important year for England, with the Six Nations and the Saxons games to look forward to so there are some great opportunities for the players to demonstrate their club form at international level.
"The summer tour to Argentina will also be a great chance for those players pushing for a place, especially with some of our Senior squad hopefully going with the Lions, and chances will undoubtedly arise as we hope to play two midweek games as well as the two Tests."
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England Senior Elite Player Squad
C Clark (Northampton Saints), A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (London Wasps), T Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), J Launchbury (London Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), J Marler (Harlequins), B Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), C Robshaw (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), T Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), D Wilson (Bath Rugby), T Wood (Northampton Saints), T Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
C Ashton (Saracens), B Barritt (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), F Burns (Gloucester Rugby), D Care (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton Saints), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Foden (Northampton Saints), A Goode (Saracens), J Joseph (London Irish), D Strettle (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
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