Danny Cipriani named in England Six Nations training squad
Nick Easter is also selected ahead of Wales game while Sam Burgess makes Saxons squad
Sale Sharks’ Danny Cipriani has been called up to Stuart Lancaster’s England training squad for their Six Nations opener against Wales. (Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire)
Cipriani has not featured in a championship game for seven years, while Easter, 36, is involved for the first time since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, returning due to the broken leg sustained by Gloucester’s Ben Morgan.
Meanwhile, Sam Burgess could be part of England’s Six Nations plans if he impresses for the Saxons against the Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork on 30 January.
Stuart Lancaster said: “Looking at both squads it’s obvious there is a lot of depth and competition in every position, which is what we want. Many players are putting their hand up in the Aviva Premiership and Europe and they have a chance to impress in training as we build towards the games against Wales and the Wolfhounds.
“It’s great to welcome back some of those players unavailable for the QBE Internationals in the autumn. They offer us a lot of quality and experience. So too Nick Easter, who has played well for Harlequins and, with the injury to Ben Morgan, both he and Tom Waldrom in the Saxons will provide us with specialist No 8 options alongside Billy Vunipola. That’s something we feel we need going into the tournament.
“We have plenty of players to consider and with some players still being assessed from last weekend after suffering knocks we have kept our options open. It’s a big European weekend ahead and there may be further changes once we assess the fitness of the players after round six and we will provide an update on Monday.
“We will use the four-day training camp and the Saxons game to narrow down selection as we lead into the opening game against Wales.
“The match against the Wolfhounds in Cork gives us a great opportunity to take a look at a group of players who are right on the edge of the senior squad and we also have the likes of David Strettle and Freddie Burns, who are very much in our thinking as options going forward.
“We will be without Joe Launchbury and Ben [MORGAN]and it was a real shame to see Ben Foden pick up his injury up last weekend. We will continue to work with Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers with Courtney and Manu and see where they are as the Six Nations progresses.”
Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad will be named on Thursday.
England Senior training squad
Forwards: Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby); Calum Clark (Northampton Saints); Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers); Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints); Nick Easter (Harlequins); Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints); James Haskell (Wasps); Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers); George Kruis (Saracens); Joe Marler (Harlequins); Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers); Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain); Billy Vunipola (Saracens); Mako Vunipola (Saracens); David Wilson (Bath Rugby); Tom Wood (Northampton Saints); Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Backs: Brad Barritt (Saracens); Mike Brown (Harlequins); Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints); Danny Care (Harlequins); Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks); Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby); Owen Farrell (Saracens); George Ford (Bath Rugby); Alex Goode (Saracens); Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby); Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby); Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints); Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs); Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby); Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby); Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens); Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
England Saxons squad
Forwards: Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons); Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers); Christian Day (Northampton Saints); Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs); Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs); Matt Garvey (Bath Rugby); Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks); Maro Itoje (Saracens); Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby); Matt Mullan (Wasps); Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby); Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs); Alex Waller (Northampton Saints); Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)
Backs: Chris Ashton (Saracens); Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby); Elliot Daly (Wasps); Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby); Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints, captain); Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors); Joe Simpson (Wasps); Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs); Marland Yarde (Harlequins); Christian Wade (Wasps)