England Interim Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has announced his first EPS (Elite Player Squad) for this years Six Nations and there are some shock inclusions and exclusions. After a poor Rugby World Cup and Martin Johnson stepping down, Lancaster has the job of re-buliding the team and their reputation. Older players such as Mike Tindall have not made the squad whilst younger players including Owen Farrell and Jordan Turner-Hall have been included.
After the disappointment of the Rugby World Cup last year, England supporters are wanting to see a change to both the personnel and the performance of the players on the field. With a new coaching team and a host of new players in the squad, hopefully we can expect a more positive outcome in terms of performance and results.
It seems Lancaster has listened to the fans and given the youth a chance. Players such as Farrell and Ben Morgan have started the season strongly and were widely tipped to feature in both the squad and starting XV plans before it was announced.
Some of the older players in the past squad such as Lewis Moody and Jonny Wilkinson have both retired whilst the likes of Nick Easter and Tindall have failed to made the cut although Lancaster has not ruled out the excluded players returning to the squad one day.
With Toby Flood, Manu Tualagi, Courtney Lawes and Louis Deacon not expected to take part in the early stages of the 6 nations, Lancaster has named Dave Attwood, Alex Goode, Henry Trinder and Geoff Parling as temporary cover.
England’s 32-man Elite Player Squad for the Six Nations Championship:
Forwards: M Botha (Saracens), C Clark (Northampton Saints), A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), P Dowson (Northampton Saints), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), J Marler (Harlequins), L Mears (Bath Rugby), B Morgan (Scarlets), T Palmer (Stade Francais), C Robshaw (Harlequins), M Stevens (Saracens), R Webber (London Wasps), D Wilson (Bath Rugby), T Wood (Northampton Saints).
Backs: C Ashton (Northampton Saints), B Barritt (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton Saints), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Foden (Northampton Saints), C Hodgson (Saracens), J Simpson (London Wasps), C Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), D Strettle (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
What do you think? What squad would you have chosen?