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England name 26-man squad to invade Paris

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rfu.com and James Mortimer     28 Jan 2014     Getty Images

Danny Care and Lee Dickson occupy the scrum half slots with British and Irish Lions No.9 Ben Youngs among the absentees. Gloucester Rugby wing Jonny May, who made his international debut in the second Test in Argentina last June, is another notable addition, as Saracens’ Chris Ashton omitted from the travelling party.

Stuart Lancaster admitted his selection decisions were tough and said the form of Care and Nowell in particular made them impossible to ignore.

The England Head Coach said: “Competition at scrum half has been particularly tight and Danny’s form leading into the Six Nations has been excellent and he merits his inclusion. Ben misses out this time but he is a quality player and I am sure he will respond in the same way Danny did at the start of the year.

“We have been pleased with the form of Chris recently. However, Jack has made great progress on the right wing and has also delivered in big games for Exeter Chiefs and we feel it is the right time to look at another option in that position.

“Chris remains an important member of the squad and I am sure he will be working hard to regain that position during the course of the Six Nations.”

Outlining his excitement ahead of taking these players to face a pumped-up France, he added: “We are excited about the players we are taking to Paris and what a great place to open our Six Nations campaign against a French team who will be massively motivated, especially after the last two games between us.

“Competition for places is intense and we have tough selection choices to make across the team. The young players have really impressed and based on their club form and what they have done in training with us they deserve their opportunity.”

Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby) will join the England Saxons squad and be included in the 23 to face Scotland A in Scoutstoun, Glasgow on Friday (7.30pm). The Saxons team will be named at 9.30am on Wednesday.

“Kyle has been superb in training and, in the same way that Anthony Watson played for the Saxons last week, we feel that he will benefit from more senior international experience,” added Lancaster.

England squad to travel to France (26)

Forwards (14)

David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (12)

Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)