Lions and Borthwick left out

Lions tourists Ugo Monye, Lee Mears and Phil Vickery and former national captain Steve Borthwick have been left out of England's Elite Player Squad. [more]

Lions and Borthwick left out

Lions tourists Ugo Monye, Lee Mears and Phil Vickery and former national captain Steve Borthwick have been left out of England’s Elite Player Squad.

Monye played in the first and third internationals against the Springboks on the Lions’ 2009 tour of South Africa, scoring a memorable interception try in the 24-9 win in Johannesburg.

The Harlequins wing only made his England debut in November 2008 but he made such a positive impression that he was named in Sir Ian McGeechan’s original Lions squad last April.

Things haven’t gone so smoothly since his return from the Republic, however, with his form dipping during the autumn internationals and Six Nations before he was overlooked for the recent Test series against Australia.

Vickery was a Lion for the second time last summer but missed a large portion of the season with a neck injury, while Mears was England’s only Lions hooker in South Africa but has now slipped behind Steve Thompson, Dylan Hartley and George Chuter in the national pecking order.

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Fellow 2009 Lion Harry Ellis misses out on both the EPS and Saxons squads but his absence is not a major surprise seeing as he struggled with injury for almost the entire domestic and international campaign.

Borthwick meanwhile was a high-profile absentee for the 2009 Lions but he continued to skipper England throughout last season.

The Saracens lock missed the final Six Nations clash with France in Paris due to a knee injury which also forced him out of the summer tour.

He was replaced as skipper by ex-Test Lion Lewis Moody who was widely perceived to have done an impressive job in Borthwick’s absence.

Former Lions captain and now England team manager Martin Johnson admitted that leaving out Borthwick wasn’t a decision he took lightly, although it is a decision that is not likely to be greeted with too much criticism.

"This was undoubtedly the most difficult EPS selection we've had to make in my time in the job,” said Johnson, who named 32 players in the EPS.

”I think we've picked the best players and the fact that some experienced guys have missed out goes to show the depth we've now got.

"Leaving Steve Borthwick out was a very hard decision. He's done a fantastic job for England over the last couple of years and it's the most difficult call we've had to make. It is very tough on Steve but it goes to show the depth of talent we've got in that area.

"We want to build on what we've done this summer and a Southern Hemisphere tour that was hugely beneficial and a really positive experience for the group. We were able to give lots of opportunities to players and expose them to a high level of rugby."

Also dropping out from last year’s EPS are Sale utility back Matthew Tait, Leicester trio Louis Deacon, Jordan Crane and Dan Hipkiss and London Irish duo Paul Hodgson and Steffon Armitage.

Dave Attwood, Dan Cole, Paul Doran-Jones, Hendre Fourie, Tom Palmer, Chris Ashton, David Strettle, Mike Tindall, Dominic Waldouck, Ben Youngs and Chuter are all promoted to the senior squad having missed out when the last EPS was named back in January.

New faces who have won call-ups to the Saxons EPS are forwards Jon Golding, Luke Narraway, Geoff Parling and Tom Wood, and backs Anthony Allen, James Simpson-Daniel and 2005 Lion Charlie Hodgson.

England have a week's training camp at Twickenham from August 8 and four Investec Internationals this autumn against New Zealand (November 6), Australia (November 13), Samoa (November 20) and South Africa (November 27).

ENGLAND EPS

Forwards

David Attwood (Gloucester Rugby)
George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Doran-Jones (Gloucester Rugby)
Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Hendre Fourie (Leeds Carnegie)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Stade Francais)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby)
Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
Tim Payne (London Wasps)
Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks)
Steve Thompson (Leeds Carnegie)

David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Joe Worsley (London Wasps)

Backs

Delon Armitage (London Irish)
Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Riki Flutey (London Wasps)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Shontayne Hape (Bath Rugby)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby)
Dominic Waldouck (London Wasps)
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

ENGLAND SAXONS EPS

Forwards

Steffon Armitage (London Irish)
Duncan Bell (Bath Rugby)
Steve Borthwick (Saracens)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)
Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
Jon Golding (Newcastle Falcons)
Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Rees (London Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Andy Saull (Saracens)
Dan Ward-Smith (London Wasps)
Rob Webber (London Wasps)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Backs

Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Shane Geraghty (Northampton Saints)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Dan Hipkiss (Leicester Tigers)
Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)

Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)

NB bold denotes Lion

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