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Launchbury back in business

Joe Launchbury will make his first international appearance in nearly a year at Twickenham on Sunday after being named in an England XV squad to face the Barbarians.

Launchbury made his comeback from a neck injury for Wasps earlier this month and has been included in the non-cap match to give him more game time with the World Cup looming this autumn.

The 24-year-old second row, a key member of the Red Rose pack, won the last of his 22 caps in New Zealand last summer.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster has included 10 players from his World Cup training squad among the 24 names provisionally selected in preparation for the annual Barbarians fixture.

Fly-half Danny Cipriani, centre Elliot Daly, playmaker Henry Slade and wing Marland Yarde are present, while scrum-half Lee Dickson will lead the team.

"This is an exciting squad with a good mix of young players who have performed well in the Premiership this season, players on the fringes of the World Cup squad and those already selected," Lancaster said.

"It gives us some valuable time together before the training camps begin next month to assess those who could come into the group before the World Cup - and also a chance to assess those who should come into the reckoning beyond 2015.

"The Barbarians squad is full of quality and experienced internationals so it will provide a real test for this group."

Players from Aviva Premiership finalists Bath and Saracens, who clash at Twickenham on Saturday, were not considered.

England XV squad:

Backs: W Chudley (Exeter), D Cipriani (Sale), E Daly (Wasps), L Dickson (Northampton, capt), S Geraghty (London Irish), A Lewington (London Irish), M Tait (Leicester), H Slade (Exeter), C Wade (Wasps), M Yarde (Harlequins) .

Forwards: J Beaumont (Sale), K Brookes (Newcastle), J Clifford (Harlequins), J Cooper-Woolley (Wasps), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), G Denman (Northampton), J Fisher (Northampton), J Gaskell (Wasps), J Launchbury (Wasps), M Mullan (Wasps), E Slater (Leicester), T Taylor (Sale), A Waller (Northampton), M Wilson (Newcastle).


From Belfast Telegraph