Chiefs duo Nowell and Johnson named in England Saxons squad
Cornishman Jack Nowell has continued his remarkable rise by earning selection for England head coach Stuart Lancaster’s 32-man England Saxons squad.
Nowell followed up a breakthrough season with Exeter Chiefs last term by winning the Junior World Championship with England’s Under-20 side over the summer.
The 20-year-old made a significant contribution to the Devon club’s charge to the Heineken Cup places at the end of last season. He played in 11 Aviva Premiership games, scoring two tries.
Commenting on Nowell’s inclusion, Lancaster said: “Jack played well for his club, he played well for England, he’s an exciting young player and the sooner we get him into the squad and start working with him, the better.”
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Chiefs flanker Tom Johnson was also included in the Saxons squad. Johnson has won five full England caps, but suffered a serious knee injury last season.
Dylan Hartley’s inclusion in the senior elite player squad was only assured after a lengthy conversation with Lancaster during which the Northampton hooker’s remorse was clear.
Lancaster’s patience with Hartley has yet to be exhausted, but he has been issued with a strong warning by the head coach following his latest brush with the disciplinary authorities that ruled him out of the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia this summer.
Sent off for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes in last season’s Premiership final, Hartley’s 11-week suspension ends on September 1 when the task of proving his temperament can be modified begins once again.
Despite his troubled disciplinary record, the 27-year-old is viewed as having a positive influence on the squad, but Lancaster stressed yesterday that he must demonstrate his worth when the new season starts.
“I had a long, hard think about it and had a long conversation with Dylan. I wanted to be reassured that he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong,” Lancaster said.
“He accepts that and knows he needs a strong start to the season with Northampton as changes can be made with Rob Webber and David Paice pushing hard.”
Six new players have been selected in the 33-strong named yesterday – lock Dave Attwood, flanker Matt Kvesic, No.8 Billy Vunipola, centre Kyle Eastmond and wings Christian Wade and Marland Yarde.
As well as Tom Johnson, others to drop down to the 32-man Saxons squad are Calum Clarke, James Haskell, Thomas Waldrom, Jonathan Joseph and David Strettle.
A decision on the captaincy will be made in October and will be based on fitness and form with Robshaw and Tom Wood the leading contenders.
“Up front, David Attwood adds a physical presence to the second row and in Matt Kvesic and Billy Vunipola we have young back row players who will challenge our more established back row players hard,” Lancaster said.
Mathew Tait, who played his last Test for England in 2010, is picked in the Saxons squad and is joined by newcomers Jack Nowell and Luke Wallace.
England senior elite player squad: Forwards: @D Attwood (Bath), D Cole (Leicester), A Corbisiero (Northampton), T Croft (Leicester), D Hartley (Northampton), M Kvesic (Gloucester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), B Morgan (Gloucester), G Parling (Leicester), C Robshaw (Harlequins), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), D Wilson (Bath), T Wood (Northampton), T Youngs (Leicester). Backs: C Ashton (Saracens), B Barritt (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), F Burns (Gloucester), D Care (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester), B Foden (Northampton), A Goode (Saracens), K Eastmond (Bath), M Tuilagi (Leicester), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), C Wade (Wasps), M Yarde (London Irish), B Youngs (Leicester).
England Saxons squad: Forwards: @ C Clark (Northampton), J Crane (Leicester), P Doran Jones (Harlequins), W Fraser (Saracens), J Haskell (Wasps), T Johnson (Exeter), G Kitchener (Leicester), G Kruis (Saracens), K Myall (Wasps), D Paice (London Irish), G Robson (Harlequins), E Slater (Leicester), H Thomas (Sale), T Waldrom (Leicester), L Wallace (Harlequins), R Webber (Bath), N Wood (Gloucester). Backs: A Allen (Leicester), L Burrell (Northampton), E Daly (Wasps), G Ford (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), J May (Gloucester), U Monye (Harlequins), S Myler (Northampton), J Nowell (Exeter), C Sharples (Gloucester), J Simpson (Wasps), D Strettle (Saracens), M Tait (Leicester), J Tomkins (Saracens), R Wigglesworth (Saracens).