ENGLAND coach Stuart Lancaster is to turn to emerging forwards Mako Vunipola and Tom Youngs today when he names his 32-man squad for the autumn internationals as he seeks to cope with the losses of several significant players.
In addition to the retirements of the peripheral Charlie Hodgson, Matt Stevens and Lee Mears, Lancaster is without the injured Ben Foden and Tom Croft, both of whom are among his finest talents, and the improving Alex Corbisiero and Rob Webber for the home fixtures against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, which commence on consecutive Saturdays from November 10.
Also returning to the squad are likely to be Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood, who could again become regular starters in Lancaster’s team, after injuries ruled the pair out of the summer’s three-Test tour of South Africa.
Though 25-year-old Leicester hooker Youngs, the older brother of esteemed scrum-half Ben, was then included he remains uncapped but for New Zealand-born Saracens prop Vunipola, 21, the occasion will mark a considerable rise having not yet featured for England beyond
Under-20 level and an international debut, with Corbisiero injured, is a genuine possibility.
It was announced yesterday that Scotland coach Andy Robinson had included seven uncapped players in his 34-man squad for next month’s Tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga. Stuart McInally, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour, Henry Pyrgos and Grant Gilchrist are those in contention for an intimidating international debut against the All Blacks on November 11, while Kelly Brown, Rory Lawson, Jim Hamilton, Kyle Traynor and Ruaridh Jackson are recalled having been absent throughout the summer. Brown could yet be named captain if Robinson decides a change from Ross Ford is necessary.
Ireland are scheduled to face South Africa, Fiji and Argentina, but will be without Rob Kearney, who has a back injury. Their 31-man squad has four uncapped players – Luke Marshall, David Kilcoyne Iain Henderson and Richardt Strauss.