Easter, Cipriani picked by England

Date published: January 21 2015

Harlequins number eight Nick Easter and Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani have both been included in England’s squad for the Six Nations.

Cipriani is one of four fly-halves in the 34-man group, along with George Ford, Owen Farrell and Stephen Myler, while Easter’s inclusion comes following Ben Morgan’s injury which has ruled him out of the tournament.

Easter hasn’t played for England since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but his form has been impressive enough for Harlequins this season for him to earn a recall at the age of 36.

Morgan is one of many key men missing for England, including Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Dan Cole, Ben Foden and Manu Tuilagi.

The 34-man group will meet up at Pennyhill Park on Monday, January 26 to prepare for their tournament-opening match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, February 6.

“Looking at both squads, it is obvious that there is a lot of depth and competition in every position, which is what we want,’ said England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

“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 Internationals in November. They offer us a lot of quality and experience. So too Nick Easter, who has played well for Harlequins.

“Given the injury to Ben Morgan, Tom Waldrom in the Saxons will provide us with specialist number eight 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.

“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 [Tuilagi] to see where they are as the Six Nations progresses.

“Chris Robshaw will lead the team. He has fully recovered from his shoulder injury and as we have seen over the last three years he is an outstanding captain who delivers consistently as a player and a leader.”

England training squad:

Backs: Mike Brown, Alex Goode, Jonny May, Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell, Luther Burrell, Jonathan Joseph, Brad Barritt, Billy Twelvetrees, Kyle Eastmond, George Ford, Owen Farrell, Stephen Myler, Danny Cipriani, Danny Care, Richard Wigglesworth, Ben Youngs

Forwards: Dylan Hartley, Tom Youngs, Alex Corbisiero, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, David Wilson, Dave Attwood, Graham Kitchener, George Kruis, Geoff Parling, Calum Clark, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood, Nick Easter, Billy Vunipola