December 9 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Saracens wing Chris Ashton has replaced Harlequins Ugo Monye in England’s 23-man squad for Saturday’s Cook Cup international against Australia at Twickenham.
Ashton was suspended for England’s 54-12 victory over Fiji last weekend but he has been recalled to face the Wallabies, against whom he has scored three tries in three Tests.
The inclusion of Ashton is the only change to the match-day squad made by head coach Stuart Lancaster, who has decided not to rush London Irish duo Jonathan Joseph or Alex Corbisiero back into the squad.
Corbisiero played his first game in five months for the the Exiles last weekend after recovering from a knee injury and Lancaster wants him to get another club game under his belt.
Joseph is fit again after shaking an ankle injury but he will join Corbisiero in being available for London Irish in their LV= Cup game against Leicester.
Lancaster will finalise his starting XV on Thursday morning but Ashton and Charlie Sharples are the likely wing selections, with Monye released to play for Quins.
Wasps lock Joe Launchbury is pushing hard for a first Test start while Thomas Waldrom appears to have retained the number eight shirt after Ben Morgan was among 13 players released.
Manu Tuilagi has not trained this week and he spent all day today undergoing rehabilitation on a sprained foot but England are confident he will be fit to play on Saturday.
Lancaster said: “We had to make some tough decisions within the 23 and we are in a good position to be able to select from a largely fit squad.
“Alex Corbisiero has played once in five months so it is important that he goes back and has more game time for London Irish.
“Jonathan Joseph has come through training but Brad Barritt and Manu did well in the centres and, similar to Alex, it would be good for him to get some game time.
“It is tough on Ugo, who misses out this time, but Chris has been excellent in training and Charlie is rewarded for his performance at the weekend.”
If Joseph and Corbisiero both come through the weekend unscathed, they will be strong contenders to feature for England against South Africa a week on Saturday.