Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter could make Six Nations return against Wales

Pair have been included in England squad for tournament opener in Cardiff

Sale Sharks’ Danny Cipriani has not played a Six Nations match in seven years. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Sale Sharks’ Danny Cipriani has not played a Six Nations match in seven years. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

 

Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter have been included in England’s 25-man squad for their opening Six Nations match against Wales on Friday evening.

The pair were surprise inclusions in England’s 34-man training squad last month with Cipriani having not featured in a Six Nations game for seven years, while the veteran Easter (36) was called up for the first time since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, due to the broken leg sustained by Ben Morgan.

Indeed England’s squad remains blighted by injury, with Owen Farrell, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and David Wilson also unavailable. Jonathan Joseph is one in-form player that head coach Stuart Lancaster has retained for England’s opener in Cardiff.

“Everyone named is fit and ready to go and we are looking forward to finalising our preparations over the next few days,” said Lancaster.

“While we have certain players unavailable through injury, it’s great to be able to welcome back guys who missed the QBE Internationals such as Dan Cole, Mako Vunipola and Tom Youngs.

“Their experience, alongside that of players like Tom Croft and Nick Easter, will be invaluable against a strong Welsh team.”

Northampton’s Stephen Myler, initially thought to be ahead of Cipriani in the pecking order, has missed out.

Lancaster will cut two players this morning when the squad will be reduced to 23.

ENGLAND (squad v Wales): Forwards (14): D Attwood (Bath), K Brookes (Newcastle), D Cole (Leicester), T Croft (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), J Haskell (Wasps), G Kruis (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), H Thomas (Bath), M Vunipola (Saracens), B Vunipola (Saracens), T Youngs (Leicester ). Backs (11): M Brown (Harlequins), L Burrell (Northampton), D Cipriani (Sale), G Ford (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), J May (Gloucester), J Nowell (Exeter), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), A Watson (Bath), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester).

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