Hodgson and Mears retire from England duty
Rugby:Saracens outhalf Charlie Hodgson and Bath hooker Lee Mears have retired from international rugby after being told they do not feature in the future plans of England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
Hodgson won 38 England caps over an 11-year international career while Mears represented his country on 41 occasions and made one Test appearance for the British and Irish Lions, against South Africa in 2009.
Lancaster spoke to both players during the summer tour of South Africa and they agreed that England need to blood younger players in their positions, with the 2015 Rugby World Cup in mind.
“Firstly, both Charlie and Lee have been outstanding senior players in the last six months and I cannot thank them enough for the support they have given me and this young squad as we move forward,” Lancaster said.
“With 80 caps between them they have a vast amount of experience and that has been invaluable.
“I had chats with both of them in South Africa and our thoughts were not too dissimilar - that if we are building a team for 2015 then, just as we did in January, we have to decide on which players will take us forward and be in the mix in three years’ time.”
Meanwhile, Andy Farrell is to rejoin the England coaching team on July 2nd, the English Rugby Football Union have announced.
Farrell has signed a contract through to January 2016 and he will take charge of England’s backs and defence for their tilt at World Cup glory on home soil in 2015.
The former dual international was part of Stuart Lancaster’s interim coaching team for this year’s Six Nations, which guided England to second place in the championship.
Farrell initially decided his coaching future lay with Saracens, who had released him on secondment to England, but changed his mind at the end of the Premiership season.
“I loved every minute of coaching England and working with Stuart and Graham Rowntree and this group of players in the Six Nations and to get the opportunity to do it permanently is a dream,” said Farrell.