England prefer Ford to Flood

Getty Images     10 Jan 2014     Getty Images

Head coach Stuart Lancaster opted to promote the 20-year-old from the England Saxons squad rather than call up France-bound Flood.

Leicester Tigers man Flood, who boasts 60 caps for his country, is set to move to France when his contract expires at the end of the season, with Lancaster stating previously that he would only call up those based overseas in exceptional circumstances.

He reaffirmed that stance on Thursday, adding that he remained keen for Flood to stay at Welford Road.

"I have met Toby Flood several times and told him I really wanted him to stay and stay at Leicester and play for England," Lancaster said in an RFU statement.

"He has made a lifestyle choice and we respect that but given the RFU's policy of not selecting players based overseas save for exceptional circumstances it was important that we allow others such as George Ford to progress."

Eight other Saxons players have been promoted to the squad for the Six Nations including Northampton Saints centre Luther Burrell, Exeter Chiefs flanker Tom Johnson and Gloucester Rugby wing Jonny May.

Matt Mullan, Jack Nowell, Ed Slater and Henry Thomas are also included in place of the injured Manusamoa Tuilagi, Tom Croft, Marland Yarde, Alex Corbisiero, Christian Wade, Geoff Parling and David Wilson.

Ahead of England's Six Nations opener against France on February 1, Lancaster added: "We have kept changes to a minimum because we believe that this squad can take us forward into 2015.

"We are hopeful that some of those injured may be available before the end of the Six Nations and certainly for the New Zealand tour [in June]."

England's Six Nations squad in full:

Backs: Chris Ashton (Saracens) , Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)

Forwards: David Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Matt Mullan (London Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)