England send Lions pointer

The first pointer towards possible Lions selection arrived at 11 o'clock on Tuesday morning when new England team manager Martin Johnson named a 32-man elite squad for the 2008/09 season. [more]

England send Lions pointer

The first pointer towards possible Lions selection arrived at 11 o’clock on Tuesday morning when new England team manager Martin Johnson named a 32-man elite squad for the 2008/09 season.

Although players outside the national squads of the four Home Unions have often played important roles in the make up of Lions touring parties, those wishing to board the plane to South Africa in just under a year’s time will be hoping to use international selection as a stepping stone in that process.

The only man to captain back-to-back Lions tours officially started his role with the RFU this morning and has named a senior and Saxons squad, with both squads containing plenty of potential Lions tourists.

Previous Lions tourists Lewis Moody, Simon Shaw, Andrew  Sheridan, Matt Stevens, Phil Vickery, Josh Lewsey and Jonny Wilkinson have all been included in the first England Elite Squad named by Johnson since his appointment in April of this year, while Ben Kay and  Andy Titterrell are named in the Saxons squad.

Changes can be made to the England Elite Squad based on form and fitness but the 32 players named today should make up the vast majority of the matchday squads for the November internationals against the Pacific Islanders, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in November.

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One player expected to make a claim for a Lions spot but currently sidelined with a serious ankle injury is Danny Cipriani. The London Wasps fly-half is included Saxons squad, having stated this week that he was hopeful of returning to action sometime in November.

England Elite Player Squad

Forwards 
 
Steve Borthwick (Saracens)
George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)*
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)*
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Nick Kennedy (London Irish)*
Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Palmer (London Wasps)
Tim Payne (London Wasps)
Tom Rees (London Wasps)
Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks)
Matt Stevens  (Bath Rugby)
Phil Vickery (London Wasps)
 
Backs
 
Olly Barkley (Gloucester Rugby)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Riki Flutey (London Wasps)*
Shane Geraghty (London Irish)
Dan Hipkiss (Leicester Tigers)
Josh Lewsey (London Wasps)
Jamie Noon (Newcastle Falcons)
Pete Richards (London Irish)
Paul Sackey (London Wasps)
James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks)
Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers)
Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons)
 
England Saxons squad
 
Forwards
 
Steffon Armitage (London Irish)*
Richard Blaze (Leicester Tigers)*
Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Jack Forster (Gloucester Rugby)*
Tom Guest (Harlequins)*
Jason Hobson (Bristol Rugby)
Chris Jones (Sale Sharks)
Ben Kay (Leicester Tigers)
Michael Lipman (Bath Rugby)
David Paice (London Irish)
George Skivington (London Wasps)*
Andy Titterrell (Gloucester Rugby)                                           
Joe Ward (London Wasps)*
David Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)*
Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby)*
Joe Worsley (London Wasps)
 
Backs
 
Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
Anthony Allen (Gloucester Rugby)
Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)*
Mike Brown (Harlequins)                    
Danny Cipriani (London Wasps)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)*
Andy Goode (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
Ryan Lamb (Gloucester Rugby)*
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)*
Topsy Ojo (London Irish)
David Strettle (Harlequins)
Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby)
Dominic Waldouck (London Wasps)*
Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks)
 
* Denotes uncapped players
 There are 19 capped players in the Saxons Elite Player Squad

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