LONDON: England coach Stuart Lancaster responded to a midfield injury crisis by including a trio of uncapped centres in his squad announced yesterday for next month’s Twickenham internationals against Australia, Argentina and world champions New Zealand.
Gloucester’s Henry Trinder, Saracens’ former rugby league star Joel Tomkins and Northampton’s in-form Luther Burrell were all included in a 34-man squad after injuries deprived Lancaster of Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt, who starred in England’s shock 38-21 win over the All Blacks at Twickenham last year.
They will compete for midfield spots along with Billy Twelvetrees and Kyle Eastmond.
Trinder’s selection was especially eye-catching after he was omitted from both the elite player squad (EPS) and the reserve Saxons squad named in August.
Also selected was five-times capped Exeter flanker Tom Johnson, brought in after Tom Croft was ruled out following knee surgery.
Speaking at Lloyd’s of London, Lancaster said: “We have been looking forward to this QBE Internationals series ever since we got back from Argentina (where a second-string England side deprived of their British and Irish Lions players as well as rested captain Chris Robshaw won a two-match series 2-0 in June).
“As a coaching group we have watched a lot of rugby and we are pleased with the form of the squad. The camp is an important part of our preparation and we are looking forward to meeting up.
“Inevitably there have been some injuries and there is still a big European (club) weekend ahead.
“But injuries always create opportunities and we are pleased to call up Tom Johnson, Joel Tomkins, Henry Trinder and Luther Burrell into the Senior EPS, with Luther joining us as injury cover so it will be great for him to come in and put a marker down in what is going to be a competitive selection leading into the Australia game.”
After playing the Wallabies, England will face the Pumas (November 9) and the All Blacks (November 16) on successive weekends at Twickenham.
Squad: Backs: Chris Ashton (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Freddie Burns (Gloucester), Luther Burrell (Northampton), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton) Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Leicester), Ben Foden (Northampton), Alex Goode (Saracens), Henry Trinder (Gloucester), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Christian Wade (Wasps), Marland Yarde (London Irish), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Forwards: David Attwood (Bath), Dan Cole (Leicester), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton), Tom Johnson (Exeter), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton), Tom Youngs (Leicester). AFP