PROMISING wings Christian Wade and Marland Yard have been rewarded for their eye-catching performances on the summer tour to Argentina with places in England’s 33-man elite squad for the new season.
London Wasps’ Wade and Yarde, of London Irish, made their international debuts against the Pumas in June and are among six new faces in Stuart Lancaster’s party, the first indication of his autumn squad.
Saracens No8 Billy Vunipola, who follows brother Mako onto the Test scene, playmaking centre Kyle Eastmond and lock Dave Attwood, both of Bath, and Gloucester flanker Matt Kvesic are the others promoted.
Wasps back row James Haskell and Saracens wing David Strettle are the most experienced players to drop down to the second-string Saxons squad.
Northampton’s Calum Clark, Leicester’s Thomas Waldrom, Tom Johnson of Exeter and Bath’s Jonathan Joseph have also lost elite status in the reshuffle.
Hooker Dylan Hartley has been retained despite missing the summer with a ban for verbally abusing the referee in last season’s Premiership final.
Lancaster admits to wavering, before resolving to keep faith with the Northampton player – for now.
“I had a long, hard think about it and had a long conversation with Dylan,” he said.
“I wanted to be reassured that he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong. He accepts that and knows he needs a strong start to the season with Northampton as changes can be made with Rob Webber and David Paice pushing hard.”