Lancaster axes Care and Vunipola in bid to arrest five-match slump

Ross McLean
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ENGLAND head coach Stuart Lancaster has made three changes to his 23-man matchday squad as the Red Rose bid to salvage their autumn programme against Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday.

Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth, Wasps skipper James Haskell and Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees all make the cut for the first time this series.

There has been much debate over Danny Care since the defeat to South Africa and the Harlequins No9 drops out along with Saracens powerhouse Billy Vunipola, while centre Kyle Eastmond returns to Bath after suffering concussion against South Africa last weekend.

Lancaster’s side have lost their last five matches, their worst run of form since 20006, and 51-cap Haskell insists England must hold loftier ambitions than simply giving the world’s elite a run for their money.

“I have been involved with England when we were getting beaten heavily by these sides and when a narrow loss would have been acceptable,” said Haskell.

“But this side has now developed to a point where we have beaten the world champions and where we ultimately should be beating these teams and be right up there.

“It’s very easy to see us as plucky runners-up, but not one person in this entire environment has ever said that is the case. No-one is satisfied to only be pushing those teams close.

“We realise we want to be beating them, we should be beating them and we are doing all the things in our power to make that happen.

“As players we are very much our own biggest critics.”


■ Forwards: Dave Attwood, Kieran Brookes, Dylan Hartley, James Haskell, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Mutt Mullan, Chris Robshaw, Rob Webber, David Wilson, Tom Wood

■ Backs: Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jonny May, Billy Twelvetrees, Anthony Watson, Richard Wigglesworth, Marland Yarde, Ben Youngs

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