British & Irish Lion Lawrence Dallaglio is relishing the chance to reclaim a place in the England side after being named in coach Andy Robinson’s 36-man training squad for the forthcoming Six Nations tournament.
Only Jason Leonard, Rory Underwood and Martin Johnson have made more England appearances than Dallaglio, and his country’s 2007 World Cup defence in France is also clearly a huge motivational factor after he initially stepped down from Test rugby.
"I am obviously delighted to have been given the opportunity to be part of the England set-up again," said Dallaglio.
"I am very much looking forward to getting together with the squad soon.
"It’s up to all of us now to make sure England go out and play as well as we can, and I am looking forward to competing for a place in the team."
Lions coach and Wasps rugby director Ian McGeechan saluted Dallaglio’s commitment and desire to play top-flight rugby again.
"Lawrence has shown enormous determination to get fit again after such a serious injury on the Lions tour last summer," said McGeechan.
"Similarly, the commitment he has shown to playing for the club since his comeback has been huge. It is great that he has been recognised for that in his selection to the squad."
Robinson has also chosen uncapped Sale Sharks flanker Magnus Lund – while recalling locks Alex Brown and Simon Shaw after they missed the autumn Tests through injury.
Manchester-born Lund, 22, made his Sale debut during the 2002/03 campaign but a series of dominant displays during Sharks’ rise to the Guinness Premiership summit offered an irresistible case for selection.
"I am delighted. It was a big shock to receive the call from Andy Robinson. I am really looking forward to training with the England players over the coming weeks and I realise I have a lot to learn and do," he said.
"But at the start of the season who would have thought that Sale Sharks would be top of the Guinness Premiership and Pool One of the European Cup going into the biggest game in the club’s history this weekend against Munster and that I’d be called up to train with England.
"A lot of the credit needs to go to Phillipe Saint Andre, Kingsley Jones and and Nick Johnston, the Sharks’ head of conditioning, who has put in a lot of hours with me outside of the normal training schedule, to help me become the player I am."
Robinson’s squad will meet up late on Sunday for a two-day gathering at Loughborough University, after which the group is likely to be reduced in size.
"I am excited about the players we have available to us, and as coaches we are looking forward to working with them," said Robinson.
"I have selected a large squad because of the European Cup and Guinness Premiership games over the next two weekends, which may take their toll.
"We know that people drop out through injury and it highlights the quality of players available that we have 36 who are all in contention for the game against Wales."