The England Elite squad is the pinnacle of English rugby. Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, assisted by Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt, has put his stamp on the squad opening the gates to an influx of young talent ahead of the 2012/13 season. This November, England take on Australia, Argentina and New Zealand on consecutive weekends at Twickenham. Due to injuries to Brad Barrit, Tom Croft and Manu Tuilagi, the senior squad has been joined by Luther Burrell, Tom Johnson, Joel Tomkins and Henry Trinder.
Becoming only the second England player to score four tries in a Championship match and the first for 97 years hangs lightly on the shoulders of Chris Ashton, who achieved the feat in the 59-13 win over Italy in February 2011. His exploits brought him a man of the match award. With two tries already tucked away against Wales, it took him to an RBS 6 Nations Championship equalling best of six in a season. He shares the record with Will Greenwood (2001) and Shane Williams (2008) and was the leading try-scorer in the 2011 Championship.
Missing only one of England’s past 41 Tests before the 2013 summer tour of South America reflects the impact that Dan Cole has made since his debut in the victory over Wales at Twickenham in 2010. A greater triumph followed in the 21-20 defeat of Australia at Sydney that June when he completed a formidable performance despite suffering a cut and badly swollen left eye.
It has taken Owen Farrell precious little time to impress with his game management and goal-kicking prowess for Saracens in the Aviva Premiership and in European competition. Five years ago, he became the youngest player at the time to make his debut in the professional game.
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