December 5, 2020

Farrell leads new look England squad

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Saracens back Owen Farrell is one of nine uncapped players in England’s squad for this season’s Six Nations.

Farrell (pictured) headed a clutch of new faces promoted to the 32-man elite squad, while interim head coach Stuart Lancaster discarded a host of veterans.

Also included are Scarlets number eight Ben Morgan and Northampton trio Calum Clark, Phil Dowson and Lee Dickson.

Mike Tindall, Mark Cueto, Nick Easter, Shontayne Hape and Riki Flutey all failed to make the cut.

The retirement of several of the team’s stalwarts and a string of injuries forced some changes, while others were always likely following a dismal World Cup campaign that ended in quarter-final defeat to France.

World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson, former skipper Lewis Moody and hooker Steve Thompson all announced their retirements after returning from New Zealand.

Among the short-term injured are fly-half Toby Flood, centre Manu Tuilagi and lock Courtney Lawes, while prop Andrew Sheridan, lock Louis Deacon and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth are out for the tournament.

Farrell’s midfield partner at Saracens, Brad Barritt, also made Lancaster’s first squad, as did prop Joe Marler and centre Jordan Turner-Hall (both of Harlequins) and Wasps hooker Rob Webber.

Flankers Tom Wood and Chris Robshaw are widely considered to be vying for the captaincy but Lancaster said he would make that decision nearer the first match, against Scotland at Murrayfield on 4 February.

Four members of the Saxons squad will join the elite squad as temporary injury cover – Bath’s Dave Atwood, Saracens full-back Alex Goode, Leicester’s Geoff Parling and Gloucester’s Henry Trinder, the last three also uncapped.

Lancaster said: “We’ve picked a side which is exciting, talented and committed to get us back to where we want to be – at the top of the game.

“I’ve spoken to those not selected and told them the door is not closed.

“But I want to use this Six Nations as an opportunity to develop the next players in those positions and develop a leadership group that is strong and wants to be the best.

“We think it’s a tremendous opportunity to build a squad that has potential for now and for the future.

“We trust the players we have selected – a lot have been involved for a while and have been to the World Cup.

“They have been on the cusp of it for a while. Now they deserve their chance after proving themselves in big games for their clubs.”

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