Clark handed England recall

  • Last Updated: January 9 2013, 17:10 GMT

Northampton forward Calum Clark has been recalled to the England squad for the RBS 6 Nations after serving a 32-week ban for breaking the elbow of an opponent.

Calum Clark: Recalled to England's squad

Clark was on the fringes of the England squad this time last year, but his career was put on hold after he pleaded guilty to injuring Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins in the LV= Cup final.

The ban ran from March 22 to November 1, ruling Clark out of England's summer tour plans and the QBE autumn international series.

But Lancaster is confident Clark has both the temperament and the ability to thrive at Test level and he has afforded the 23-year-old a second chance.

Clark is one of two uncapped players in the 33-man squad, along with Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees.

Lancaster said: "He has had a tough lesson to learn and he has learned it.

"I have watched his games closely, the first one being against Leicester. He has been harnessing the competitive nature he has got, which you want in players to win games, but he is channelling that in the right way.

"He has had tough lessons to learn. I have coached him since he was 14, I probably know him better than most.

"I know what he can offer. In addition to his desire to win, his versatility in the second row is an option for us. He is incredibly athletic and very good in the contact areas."

Lancaster has formally promoted Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola and Freddie Burns after they impressed during England's autumn international campaign.

England's search for a left wing has led to a return for David Strettle in place of Charlie Sharples, who is more at home on the right, and James Haskell has replaced Phil Dowson in the back row.

Twelvetrees has excelled in his first season at Gloucester playing alongside Burns, who made an eye-catching debut off the bench in the 38-21 victory over New Zealand.

"Their form for their club (is what has impressed me)," Lancaster said.

"They have performed well together. They each credit the other for their form.

"They are coming into very competitive positions. We have Toby Flood and Owen Farrell at 10 who have played well for us.

"Billy comes in against Brad Barritt, who has been exceptional in the autumn and for Saracens.

"It was a tight call between Billy Twelvetrees and Anthony Allen but we wanted to get a chance to work with Billy. We are really excited about this squad going forward."

Tom Croft has been included after overcoming a career-threatening neck injury but he is unlikely to feature in the Six Nations, with medics closely managing his return to action.

As a result, Vunipola's younger brother Billy, the dynamic Wasps number eight, will train with England in their pre-Six Nations camp in Leeds later this month.

Strettle has replaced Sharples because he is more comfortable on the left wing, which has been a problem position for Lancaster.

But that does not signal the end of England's tactic of using full-backs on the wing.

Harlequins' Mike Brown was utilised there to great effect against the All Blacks, while Lancaster considers Foden to be one of the best finishers in the country.

"The 33-man squad gives us depth," Lancaster said.

"The opportunity for David has come alongside a move to the left wing. We have Christian Wade (in the Saxons) pushing Chris Ashton very hard on the right wing.

"David has moved to left at Saracens and his form has been outstanding but Mike Brown was fantastic there against the All Blacks."

Sharples drops down to the Saxons along with Allen, Jordan Turner-Hall, Dowson, Tom Palmer and Mouritz Botha.

The Saxons squad includes another converted rugby league star Joel Tomkins, the Saracens centre, and Wasps wing Wade.

London Irish prop Alex Corbisiero (knee) and Saracens full-back Alex Goode (shoulder) are both in a race against time to be fit for the start of the Six Nations.

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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