Stevens returns to England fold
Matt Stevens' return from the ignominy of a drugs ban continued on Monday when he was confirmed in England's 45-man Rugby World Cup training squad.
The Saracens prop has been joined by five uncapped players at England's training camp - Manusamoa Tuilagi, Thomas Waldrom, Mouritz Botha, Joe Simpson and Charlie Sharples.
England manager Martin Johnson has also rewarded the Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw and Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth for their impressive seasons.
Stevens returned to action in January after serving a two-year suspension for cocaine use and he has not been on a losing side game since, helping Saracens win the Aviva Premiership title and the England Saxons to Churchill Cup success. Capped 32 times by England, Stevens played in the 2007 World Cup final and toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2005.
At the other end of the experience scale, Johnson has drafted Leicester's 20-year-old centre Tuilagi into the training squad after a breakthrough season at Welford Road. Tuilagi was voted the Premiership's young player of the year and would have been part of the Saxons campaign had he not been banned for punching Chris Ashton.
The 20-year-old was nearly deported last year after it emerged he did not have the right paperwork to be living in England. Tuilagi, who has four brothers who played for Samoa, was granted indefinite leave to stay and declared his international allegiance to England.
Waldrom, the Leicester number eight, was born in New Zealand but qualifies to play for England after discovering during this season that his grandmother was born in the country.
Botha, who was born in South Africa and qualifies on residency grounds, has been in prime form for Saracens this year and impressed England's coaches during the recent Churchill Cup campaign.
England's 45-man Rugby World Cup training squad:
Forwards: Mouritz Botha (Saracens), George Chuter (Leicester Tigers), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Hendre Fourie (Sale Sharks), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Unattached), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lee Mears (Bath Rugby), Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Tim Payne (London Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Simon Shaw (London Wasps), Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Steve Thompson (London Wasps), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), 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 (London Irish), Charlie Hodgson (Saracens), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby), David Strettle (Saracens), Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).