Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Deacon handed England recall

Louis Deacon
Louis Deacon

Louis Deacon has been recalled to the England squad for the RBS 6 Nations as a replacement for banned Gloucester lock Dave Attwood.

The Leicester second row is one of two changes made by Martin Johnson, with the Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson replacing his injured club-mate Dominic Waldouck.

Johnson has also added the Saracens-bound fly-half Charlie Hodgson into an expanded 33-man squad.

But the England management have delayed announcing the replacements for Northampton lock Courtney Lawes, who is out for three months with knee ligament damage, and Leicester's Tom Croft.

The Northampton flanker Tom Wood and Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw are the leading contenders to come in for Croft, who suffered a fractured shoulder against South Africa in November.

Deacon has come in for Attwood, who will miss England's fixtures against Wales and Italy after being banned for stamping during Gloucester's Amlin Challenge Cup defeat to La Rochelle.

Johnson is set to confirm the injury replacements before England head to Portugal for their warm-weather training in the last week of January.

Simpson's inclusion is a surprise given he is the third scrum-half in the party and replaces a centre in Waldouck, although England now view Matt Banahan as Mike Tindall's back-up.

Johnson has the facility to expand his squad to 33 players because Wilkinson, James Haskell and Tom Palmer are all based in France.

The Saxons squad includes Leicester fly-half Billy Twelvetrees and Northampton centre Jon Clarke and Saints lock Christian Day plus Harlequins prop Joe Marler and Sale loose-forward James Gaskell.

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