England's temporary head coach, Stuart Lancaster in Leeds today John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images
in with the new

New England: Defending champions shake up Six Nations squad

Stuart Lancaster has named nine uncapped players in his 32 man squad to ‘start a new era’

ENGLISH RUGBY IS hopeful of putting their nightmare World Cup debacle behind them, starting with a new-look group of players for the Six Nations which kicks off next month.

Almost half of the senior squad named by Martin Johnson in July has been changed and Saracens’ 20 year old fly-half, Owen Farrell, is the headline inclusion of nine uncapped players.

Stuart Lancaster, appointed interim coach after Martin Johnson’s resignation, also gave first call-ups to Ben Morgan, Brad Barritt, Lee Dickson and Jordan Turner-Hall. Lancaster said of his selection:

“In line with the selection philosophy about starting new era for English rugby, we have taken the chance to make changes and give players opportunities to be part of the journey towards 2015.”

Some of those changes are the exclusions of Mike Tindall, Mark Cueto, Nick Easter and Shontayne Hape from the squad, but Lancaster expressed gratitude towards some high-profile servants who have retired:

“We have lost some great players who have worn the England shirt with pride and distinction – Lewis (Moody), Steve (Thompson) and Jonny (Wilkinson) – and we should thank them for all they did.”

The shake-up means the senior squad (which you can see here) will include only four men over the age of 30 and, with 46 caps,  Toby Flood is the most experienced International in the group.

England were just one game away from completing a Grand Slam last year. They kick off their defence of the trophy against Scotland in Murrayfield on Saturday 4 February.

Kidney up against Gatland and Robinson for Lions job

Don’t call it a comeback: Murphy vows to answer call

Sherry back on the training ground with Munster