Billy Twelvetress named in England’s Six Nations squad

Billy TwelvetreesBilly Twelvetress has been named by Stuart Lancaster in the England Elite Player Squad for the upcoming RBS Six Nations.
The uncapped Gloucester centre, one of seven changes made to the squad, is rewarded for is good first half of the season with Gloucester and replaces Leicester’s Anthony Allen, who drops to the Saxons Squad.
After shining wearing the Cherry and Whites jersey together, Twelvetrees and Freddie Burns could now lit up the international stage as the playmaker has, as expected, also been named in the squad in the place of Harlequins centre Jordan Turner-Hall.
In the other changes, Northampton forward Callum Clark has also been named in the squad and looks set make his international debut this winter after missing out last year.
He was named in the 2012 Six Nations squad but received a 32-week ban which saw him miss the rest of the season as well as the beginning of this one.
Young lock sensation Joe Launchbury will have the chance to confirm his superb form on a permanent basis but this comes at the expense of his London Wasps’ teammate Tom Palmer.
Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs also get a permanent role after his convincing displays in the Autumn internationals instead of Bath Rob Webber.
In the back row, Wasp James Haskell comes back in the squad taking over from Saint Phil Dowson.
In the backs, Saracens David Strettle replaces Gloucester Charlie Shaprles on the wing.
The requirement for an eight-man replacements’ bench during the RBS Six Nations means that the Senior squad has been extended to 33 and Saracens lossehead Mako Vunipola moves up from the Saxons as the additional player.
Despite making his return to competition only last week for Leicester, back row Tom Croft has kept his place in the squad but it is London Wasps’ barn-storming 20-year-old No.8 Billy Vunipola who will train with the Elite squad as Croft continues his return-to-play programme.
Vunipola is one of seven changes made by Lancaster to the Saxons squad with teammate Elliot Daly also being promoted.
Cross-code duo Kyle Eastmond (Bath) and Joel Tomkins (Saracens) have been named as midfield options for the first time since switching from Rugby League last year.
Up front, an up-and-coming trio made of Gloucester prop Shaun Knight, Leicester lock Ed Slater and Saracens openside Will Fraser have all been rewarded for their very bright start of the season.
The annual European showdown starts with the Calcutta Cup against Scotland at Twickenham on February and will end on March 16 at the Millennium Stadium against Wales.
The Saxons will meet up on Monday, January 21 at Surrey Sports Park ahead of their match against the 02 Ireland Wolfhounds in Galway on Friday, January 25.
Lancaster said: “The fact that we have spent significant time deliberating over quite a few players shows how tough the competition is to get into this 65 and the strength in depth that is emerging. We have made some changes to both squads and we feel that reflects the players’ form during the first half of the season. There will undoubtedly be movement between the two squads as we go through the RBS 6 Nations and that was evident in the QBE Internationals, with players in form pushing through such as Freddie Burns, Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola.
“This is a very important year for England, with the Six Nations and the Saxons games to look forward to so there are some great opportunities for the players to demonstrate their club form at international level. The summer tour to Argentina will also be a great chance for those players pushing for a place, especially with some of our Senior squad hopefully going with the Lions, and chances will undoubtedly arise as we hope to play two midweek games as well as the two Tests.”
England senior elite player squad:
Forwards – C Clark (Northampton Saints), A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (London Wasps), T Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), J Launchbury (London Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), J Marler (Harlequins), B Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), C Robshaw (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), T Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), D Wilson (Bath Rugby), T Wood (Northampton Saints), T Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
Backs – C Ashton (Saracens), B Barritt (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), F Burns (Gloucester Rugby), D Care (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton Saints), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Foden (Northampton Saints), A Goode (Saracens), J Joseph (London Irish), D Strettle (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
England Saxons elite player squad:
Forwards – M Botha (Saracens), N Catt (Bath Rugby), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), P Doran Jones (Northampton Saints), P Dowson (Northampton Saints), W Fraser (Saracens), J Gray (Harlequins), G Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), S Knight (Gloucester Rugby), M Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), M Mullan (Worcester Warriors), D Paice (London Irish), T Palmer (London Wasps), G Robson (Harlequins), E Slater (Leicester Tigers), H Thomas (Sale Sharks), B Vunipola (London Wasps).
Backs – N Abendanon (Bath Rugby), A Allen (Leicester Tigers), T Biggs (Bath Rugby), E Daly (London Wasps), K Eastmond (Bath Rugby), G Ford (Leicester Tigers), G Lowe (Harlequins), J May (Gloucester Rugby), U Monye (Harlequins), J Simpson (London Wasps), C Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), J Tomkins (Saracens), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), C Wade (London Wasps), R Wigglesworth (Saracens).

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