Category Archives: International Rugby

Rugby Federation Set for Name Change as IRB Becomes World Rugby

The International Rugby Board will become World Rugby from November 19, 2014 as part of a major rebranding programme.

The new brand, including a new logo, will be launched at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in London on November 17-18.

Global Rugby participation has boomed by more than two million to 6.6 million players over the past four years, driven by the commercial success of Rugby World Cup, the IRB’s development strategies and record investment, strong and vibrant Unions and Rugby’s re-inclusion in the Olympic Games.

With Rugby aspiring to inspire and engage new audiences and players around the world, the rebrand reflects the organisation’s mission to build a stronger connection with fans, players and new audiences worldwide.

The rebrand will have no impact on Rugby World Cup 2015 branding or positioning, which will remain as it is with its iconic logo throughout the current event cycle.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby continues to thrive, reach out and engage new audiences and participants in record numbers and the IRB has been at the heart of that growth.”

“We are committed to furthering that growth beyond our traditional family and fan base with a public that expects to be entertained, informed and interacted with. This move is more than just a name change, it is a mission statement.”

IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper added: “In a crowded global entertainment and sporting marketplace, the role of the IRB has evolved from Game regulator to Game inspirer.”

“With this we must continue to appeal to those who know and love the sport and its heritage, while attracting, engaging and inspiring those who have no connection with the sport across multiple cultures and languages around the world.”

“World Rugby collectively has the ingredients and tools to do just that. Rugby’s global appeal is founded and positioned on its unique character-building values and inclusive ethos and we want everyone to feel connected with the sport and Rugby’s ongoing success story.”

“World Rugby clearly aligns our name with our mission and allows us to organise new and existing consumer facing properties in a way that they will be more impactful and more appealing to the sport’s growing global fan base.”



England Women name team for Six Nations Ireland double header

Alphonsi returns for England

England Women’s Head Coach Gary Street has made seven changes to the team that defeated Scotland two weeks ago for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, kick off 6:20pm.

In a must win match for England against the defending Six Nations Grand Slam champions, Street has called up a new front row with Rochelle Clark, Emma Croker and Sophie Hemming all starting. Also in the pack Maggie Alphonsi returns in the backrow, partnering Hannah Gallagher and Sarah Hunter.

Worcester’s Katherine Merchant and Bristol’s Kay Wilson form a new wing partnership whilst Lichfield’s Natasha Hunt returns at scrum-half.

Street said: “It has been a tough selection this week but I think the quality of our bench shows the depth we have in this squad. We’ve had good week training and the players are feeling really positive and excited about playing against Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.”

England last played Ireland in the Six Nations, and it was the Irish who came out on top winning 25-0 in Ashbourne. Phillip Doyle’s side now head to Twickenham, just like Ireland Men, in search of the Triple Crown whilst England know they have to win to keep any hopes alive of taking back the Six Nations crown after their defeat to France earlier this month.

“This is obviously a big game,” said Street. “With our defeat last season to Ireland, playing at Twickenham and knowing we must win, this is a big match. That said, at the same time, for us every game is a big game all the way through to the Rugby World Cup in August now as this is our target.

“Ireland have a strong all round game with some powerful forwards and pace in their backs whilst we’ve learned a lot from our defeat to France and we are feeling ready for this. I think this will be a great expansive game of rugby for the Twickenham crowd to enjoy.”

Rugby fans can watch England Women v Ireland Women for free with free entry to the stadium after England Men v Ireland.

England team v Ireland

15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)

14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester)                                                                                      

13 Amber Reed (Bristol)

12 Rachel Burford (Thurrock)

11 Kay Wilson (Bristol)

10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) C

9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)

1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)

2 Emma Croker (Richmond)

3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol)

4 Rebecca Essex (Richmond)

5 Joanne McGilchrist (Wasps)

6 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)

7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens)

8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield) VC


16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)

17 Laura Keates (Worcester)

18 Sasha Acheson (Bristol)

19 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)

20 Marlie Packer (Wasps)

21 La Toya Mason (Wasps)

22 Ceri Large (Worcester)

23 Lydia Thompson (Worcester)

SCOTTISH RUGBY: Taylor and Horne join up for Italian encounter

At the halfway point in their 6 Nations campaign, Scotland’s under-20 players travel to northern Italy today to prepare for their third match of the championship on Friday 21 February (kick-off 6pm GMT, 7pm local).

Looking for their first win, after defeats to Ireland and England, the Scots prepare to meet their Italian counterparts with four changes to the starting XV who took on the English at Netherdale earlier this month.

Try-scorer against England, Chris Dean, and Neil Herron return to Scotland 7s to prepare for the tournaments in Japan and Hong Kong, while last season’s Scotland under-18 captain, Richard Taylor, comes in at centre. Moving from the bench to the starting line-up are scrum half Murdo McAndrew, prop Phil Cringle and flanker Lewis Carmichael at blindside. Buchan Richardson and Ben Vellacott take their place in the replacements, joined by stand-off George Horne.


Head coach Sean Lineen said: “At 10 – an area where we’ve not had a lot of strength in depth – we’ve got Ben Chalmers and now George Horne is back. They’re both young, are great guys to work with and have another year at 20s so there’s a lot of room for them to develop.


“There was certainly an improvement in our performance against England and we’re looking for more in what will be a tough game against very passionate Italians. I have every confidence in our boys, they’re learning all the time and it’s great to see their enthusiasm and commitment. There’s a lot more to come from these lads.”


Scotland under-20 team to take on Italy under-20, Friday 21 February, Stadio Omero Tognon, Pordenone, Fruili-Venezia Giulia kick-off 6pm (GMT), 7pm (local)


15 Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies)


14 Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) **

13 Blair Hutchison (Loughborough/Melrose)

12 Richard Taylor (Melrose/Loretto School) *

11 Damien Hoyland (Melrose) *


10 Ben Chalmers (Melrose)

9 Murdo McAndrew (Clermont Auvergne) 



1 Jack Cosgrove (Worcester Warriors)

2 Sam James (London Wasps)

3 Philip Cringle (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) **

4 Andrew Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)

5 Glen Young (Newcastle Falcons)

6 Lewis Carmichael (Melrose) *

7 Tommy Spinks (London Scottish) CAPTAIN

8 Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir/Edinburgh Rugby) **



16 James Malcolm (Ayr) *

17 D’arcy Rae (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors) ** 

18 Chris Barnes (Glasgow Hawks) *

19 Buchan Richardson (London Scottish) 

20 Gabriel Carroll (Loughborough University)

21 Ben Vellacott (Worcester Warriors/Hartpury)

22 George Horne (Currie)

23 Sam Pecqueur (Edinburgh Accies) **


* member of Scottish Rugby’s Regional Academy supported by sportscotland Institute of Sport

** Elite Development Player 2013/14

England squad resumes training ahead of Ireland clash

The following players will return to Pennyhill Park tomorrow evening (Wednesday) to prepare for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham Stadium (4pm, live on BBC Sport)

Forwards (13) 
David Attwood (Bath Rugby) 
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) 
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps) 
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) 
Joe Marler (Harlequins) 
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)   
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) 
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks) 
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) 
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) 
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (10) 
Mike Brown (Harlequins) 
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints) 
Danny Care (Harlequins) 
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints) 
Owen Farrell (Saracens) 
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens) 
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) 
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) 
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We feel that the time is right to include George Ford in the matchday squad. A full three weeks of training has allowed him the chance to really understand the way we are developing our game and this time has been crucial in order for him to feel confident and ready in a key decision making and leadership position.

“We have successfully integrated and included many young players over the last two years and George is the next exciting talent to make his mark in the senior squad and we are a looking forward to see him develop over the next few months. 

“Brad Barritt is obviously disappointed to miss out but he is still a key member of our squad and I am sure he will get further opportunities in the future. He hasn’t had much game time since his injury and will benefit from some time with Saracens over the next two weeks.”

Dan Cole saw a specialist this evening regarding his neck and the results of the assessment will now be considered by the England and Leicester Tigers medical teams. A further update will be given by Stuart Lancaster at Thursday’s media briefing.

Returning to Aviva Premiership clubs

Chris Ashton (Saracens) 
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby) 
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby) 
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) 
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs) 
Matt Mullan (London Wasps) 
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers) 
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) 
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

SARU unveils Junior Springbok preparation plans for 2014 JWC

The South African Rugby (SARU) Union announced a group of 76 players on Tuesday for the start of the SA Under-20 preparations for the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship tournament to be hosted in Auckland, New Zealand, in June.


SARU also unveiled a comprehensive preparation plan aimed at ensuring the Junior Springboks are battle ready for the 2014 JWC showpiece. The main pillars of this plan are three training camps in Stellenbosch, which will see the Junior Springbok hopefuls play a series of trial matches, and participate in three friendly internationals against Argentina Under-20.


To kick-start the preparation schedule of the training group, SA Under-20 head coach, Dawie Theron, members of his management team, the SARU Mobi Unit and the SARU Development department will soon meet with the selected players in Johannesburg and Stellenbosch respectively.


Players from the Blue Bulls, Golden Lions, Leopards, Free State, EP Kings and the Sharks will assemble in Johannesburg on February 20 for a one-day information session, while a similar get together is planned for the Western Province-based players on February 27 in Stellenbosch.


Theron will conduct three training camps before the announcement of the official SA U20 squad in April. The first training camp will run from 31 March to 16 April and a series of trial matches will also be held during this period. A smaller group will then gather from 27 April to 17 May, again in Stellenbosch, for a second camp and the three internationals against the Argentina U20’s.


The matches against Argentina are scheduled for May 9 at City Park Stadium, Cape Town, on May 13 at the Paul Roos Gymnasium Stellenbosch and May 17 at the Saldanha Rugby Club on the Cape West Coast.


The final holding camp takes place from 23 to 26 May and the squad departs Cape Town for New Zealand on May 26 to participate in the JWC tournament from June 2 to 20 June.


Commenting on the preparation plans Junior Springboks head coach Theron said they hope the structure of the camps and the large training group would allow them to cast the net as wide as possible.


“We have a different approach this year in terms of identifying the players and also our training group preparations. We have already visited the provinces and communicated our preparation and conditioning plans to them, and we will continue to keep them informed.


“Our conditioning coach especially, together with the SARU Mobi Unit and Development department are working very closely with the provinces to ensure the players follow a comprehensive training programme so that they’re in good physical condition when they arrive at our training camps,” explained Theron.


The Junior Springbok coach added he is pleased with quality of players identified for the large training group: “There are a lot of talented players in the group and it certainly helps us that some of these players, such as Malcolm Marx (Lions), André Esterhuizen, Thomas du Toit (The Sharks), Jesse Kriel, Handré Pollard (Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Ryno Eksteen (DHL Stormers) have played in Vodacom Super Rugby warm-up matches for their franchises,” said Theron.


He added: “We are also fortunate to include a number of players who played last year in France, such as Pollard, Jessie Kriel, Rohan Janse van Rensburg (all Bulls) and Aidon Davis (EP Kings). Sergeal Petersen (EP Kings) is also available after he missed the JWC last year because of injury.”


The SA U20 training group:


Blue Bulls:  Handré Pollard, Jesse Kriel, Duhan van der Merwe, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Dan Kriel, Keagon Gordan, Kobus Marais, Warrick Gelant, Ganfred May, Marcus Kleinbooi, Duncan Mathews, JP Smith, Corniel Els, Wilco Louw, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Pierre Schoeman, Abongile Nonkontwana, Janse van Rensburg, RG Snyman, Heinrich Viljoen, Justin Basson;  

Golden Lions:   Malcom Marx, Michael Hazner, Ramone Samuels, Jaco Van der Walt, Jano Venter, Thabo Mabuza, Vincent Maropeng, Victor Sisekete, JP du Preez, Pieter Scholtz, Stephan Vermeulen, Cyle Brink, Dylan Smith;

Leopards:  Jaco Botha, Kock Marx, Dean Stokes, Lloyd Greef;

Free State:  Ox Noche, Joseph Dweba, Mthokozisi Mkhabela, Nicolaas Lee, Marthinus Oosthuizen, Jandré Slabbert;

EP Kings:  Aidon Davis, Sergeal Petersen, Kevin Kaba, Alrin Eksteen;

The Sharks: Andre Esterhuizen, Thomas du Toit, Gideon Koegelenberg, Chris de Beer, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Neil Maritz, Sandile Khubeka, Cameron Wright, Ayron Schramm, Ray Williams, Sias Koen;     

Western Province: Ryno Eksteen, JD Schickerling, Jacques Vermeulen, Rikus Bothma, Daniel du Plessis, Jarryd Sage, SP Ferreira, Justin Philips, Dewald Naudé, Grant Hermanus, Chad Solomon, Wesley Adonis, Frans van Wyk.

The SA U20 preparation activities are:


Camp One

When: 31 March – 16 April 2014

Where: Stellenbosch Academy of Sport


Camp Two

When: 23 April – 17 May 2014

Where: Stellenbosch and Cape Town


SA U20 international friendlies vs Argentina U20:

09 May: SA vs Argentina (City Park Stadium, Cape Town)

13 May: SA vs Argentina (Paul Roos, Stellenbosch)

17 May: SA vs Argentina (Saldanha Rugby Club, Saldanha)


Camp Three – Holding camp

When: 23 – 26 May 2014

Where: Stellenbosch Academy of Sport


Capping Ceremony

When: 25 May 2014

Where: Stellenbosch Academy of Sport


Squad Departure 

When: 26 May 2014

Where: Cape Town International Airport


SA U20 2014 JWC fixtures:

2 June: SA vs Scotland (North Harbor)

6 June: SA vs New Zealand (North Harbor)

10 June: SA vs Samoa (Pukekohe)

15 June: Playoffs (Tbc)

20 June: Finals (Auckland)

SCOTTISH RUGBY: Cuthbert called up to Scotland squad

Jack Cuthbert (pictured above left), the 26-year-old Edinburgh Rugby full-back/winger, has been called up to the Scotland squad preparing for Saturday’s match against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Cuthbert, who was an unused replacement in the corresponding match in Rome two years ago, is promoted from the Scotland A squad who drew 16-all with England Saxons last month.

Cuthbert, capped against Ireland in the World Cup warm-up Test in 2011, has made 14 starts for Edinburgh in his first season with the Capital club, having joined from Bath Rugby.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Grayson Hart, his Edinburgh Rugby team-mate who made his Scotland A debut against the Saxons, will train with the squad this afternoon as Chris Cusiter sits out the session.

Scotland team doctor James Robson said: “Having completed the game for Glasgow Warriors at Cardiff at the weekend, Chris Cusiter subsequently reported to national camp today with a tight calf.

“Given the proximity of Saturday’s international in Rome, Chris will undergo a precautionary scan at the SPIRE Murrayfield Hospital this afternoon in order that we can have a more definitive assessment.”

England Women U20s announce team to face France in return match

England Women Under 20s Head Coach Amanda Bennett has made four changes for Saturday’s return clash against France U20s at Esher RFC, kick off 2pm.

Following a 27-0 defeat to France earlier this month, Bennett has called up Lichfield’s Emma Harbage, Bristol’s Devon Holt and Loughborough’s Scarlet Cooper-Wall from the bench whilst Worcester’s Emily Wood switches to the right wing. Worcester lock Courtney Gill will captain the side.

On the bench, two players could be set to make their international debuts with Lichfield duo Amy Cockayne and Sarah Nicholas named in the match day 23.

Bennett said: “It’s important that players selected for the U20s programme are exposed to competition so we are looking to the new players selected to step up and perform.”

England U20s couldn’t cope with an on-form French team two weeks ago – they ran in five tries to maintain their three year unbeaten run.

“We learned from the first game in Beauvais and we’re expecting players who faced France last time to take this on board,” added Bennett. “The U20s programme is about player development and there is no better opportunity to show progress than to face the same opposition again within three weeks. 

“We certainly hope we can to close the gap on France this time around. One of the biggest lessons learned was the cost of individual errors and how few opportunities teams get at this level. Changes in one or two key areas can make a big difference on the day.” 

England U20s (Club, Region, Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence College)

15 Sydney Gregson (Welwyn, Hertfordshire, London & South East, Hartpury College)

14 Emily Wood (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West, Hartpury College)

13 Abigail Brown (Worcester, Devon, South West)

12 Lauren Chenoweth (Worcester, Cornwall, South West)

11 Emma Harbage (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands)

10 Megan Goddard  (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)

9 Devon Holt (Bristol, Berkshire, South West)

1 Abbie Parsons (Bristol, Berkshire, South West)

2 Lark Davies (Worcester, North Midlands, Midlands)

3 Scarlett Cooper-Wall (Loughborough, Hertfordshire, South West)

4 Amy Wigley (Worcester, North Midlands, Midlands, Hartpury College)

5 Courtney Gill (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West) C

6 Francesca  Hall (Richmond, Hampshire, London & South East)

7 Lucie Wood (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West)

8 Jo Brown (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Durham, North)


16 Amy Cockayne (Lichfield, Midlands)

17 Catherine Pugh (Lichfield, Essex, London & South East)

18 Henrietta  Burkinshaw (Lichfield, Yorkshire, North)

19 Katie Turnbull (Bristol, South West)

20 Rebecca Trist (Worcester, South West)

21 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)

22 Sarah Nicholas (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands)

23 Rosemary Kells (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West)

Johnson relishing England Counties captaincy

OLD friendships will be renewed and new ones will be formed when the England Counties XV squad assembles in Darlington this week to prepare for the international against Ireland Club XV at the Durham town’s Northern Echo Arena on Friday February 21 (7.30pm).

The match will give players from clubs in National League One and National Leagues Two North and South the chance to player for their country in the representative flagship of community rugby in England but also to get to know better players who are usually opponents.

“The best thing for me about playing for England Counties is that the friends that you make,” said Fylde fly-half Chris Johnson, who will again have the honour of captaining England Counties this week.

“You come up against most of the players in the squad during the league season but playing with the Counties XV means that you work together and from that some strong friendships are formed.”

Johnson had his first taste of captaining England Counties on their tour to Belgium last summer and he stepped into the breach against France Federale XV last month when Wharfedale number eight Rob Baldwin was suspended for one week after he accumulated three yellow cards for foul play during the season.

Baldwin has served his suspension and is available to play at Darlington Mowden Park’s 25,000 capacity stadium but Johnson has retained the captaincy for the Ireland match.

“It was a bit of a surprise when I got the captaincy because Rob was the original captain and they asked me at the last minute when he was suspended,” Johnson said.

“I captained the side in the first match of the Belgium tour last year which was a great experience and leading the team for the first time in an international in France was a great honour.

“Leading the side out at Darlington will be a proud moment for me. I will have a few friends and a few family members to support me.

“We’ve made a few changes to the squad from the defeat in France but, from my previous experience of playing Ireland when we drew against them at Donnybrook in 2009, I’m looking forward to going up against them again.”

Johnson, 27, is in his second season with Fylde having started his career with Rochdale, his hometown club. But it was during a successful stint with Huddersfield, now in National Three North, that Johnson was first capped by England Counties.

These are heady days for Huddersfield who also set Luther Burrell  on his way to stardom although Johnson’s career did not quite overlap with England’s new centre.

“The coaches at Huddersfield did a lot for me and I still have some very good friends there,” Johnson said.

“But I decided to try my hand at National One level after I played county rugby for Lancashire with Mark Nelson as coach and he persuaded me to give it a go.

“Fylde is such a great club with a proud history and to have Brian Ashton involved there was another factor. Turning up to my first training session and being coached by a former England coach was a memorable experience.”

Johnson is one of three Fylde players in the England Counties squad for Friday’s match alongside centre Chris Briers, who also played in the 16-15 defeat in France, and prop Adam Lewis, who will have his chance to make new and lasting friends in his first involvement in the squad.

England Women had to settle for a disappointing seventh place finish in the Atlanta leg of the IRB Sevens World Series on Sunday.

Simon Middleton’s side were knocked out of the cup competition by Dubai World Series winners Australia in the quarter-finals, before then losing to America in the Plate semi-finals. That defeat pooled England against Japan for the battle for seventh place which England secured.

England Sevens Head Coach Simon Middleton, who took charge of this England side just last month, said: “We are obviously disappointed with the result this weekend. There are some positive elements but we need to have more consistency in our performances.

“We have high expectations of what we can achieve because we have quality players. We know that we have got to deliver quality performances in every game though if we want to achieve the results we strive for.

“There is lots of work to be done this week but the players are up for it. We are all on a steep learning curve but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

England booked their place in the Cup quarter finals after victories over Ireland (32-0) and the Netherlands (19-12) and a 14-5 defeat to reigning world champions New Zealand on Saturday.

Sunday, however, was a different day altogether for England with Australia taking a 17-12 win to secure a place in the semi-finals. England pushed Australia hard for that win, forcing the game into extra time when the match was level at 12-12 at full-time. Wallaby captain Sharni Williams was decisive in the extra period though and put the vital points on the board.

England, however, failed to pick themselves up for the Plate semi-finals with the USA’s Jessica Javelet running in a hat-trick of tries to seal a convincing 5-19 victory.

England regrouped for the final match against Japan, taking a 19-12 win. A hat-trick of tries from Natasha Brennan and two conversions from Sarah Mckenna secured the win.

England now sit fifth in the World Sevens Series ranking ahead of round three which kicks off this Friday in Sao Paulo.

England Sevens

Claire Allan (VC) (Richmond) Natasha Brennan (Richmond) Abigail Chamberlain (C) (Richmond) Heather Fisher (Worcester) Francesca Matthews (Richmond) Sarah McKenna (Saracens) Leanne Riley (Saracens) Emily Scott (Thurrock) Sally Tuson (Saracens) Danielle Waterman (Bristol) Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol) Michaela Staniford (Wasps)

England Atlanta Playing Schedule:

England 32 Ireland 0 – Tries: Brenna (3), Waterman, Allan, Chamberlain Conversions: Brennan

England 19 Netherlands 12 – Tries: Allan, Brennan, McKenna Conversions: McKenna (2)

New Zealand 14 England 5 – Tries: Waterman

England 12 Australia 17 – Tries: Chamberlain, Allan, Conversions: McKenna

England 5 USA 19 – Tries: Wilson-Hardy

England 19 Japan 5 – Tries: Brennan (3) Conversions: McKenna (2)


DAN COLE will have a period of rest from rugby to relieve a bulging disc in his neck which is trapping a nerve.

The Leicester Tigers and England tight-head prop was diagnosed after experiencing weakness during a gym session at St George’s Park last week and will miss the rest of the RBS 6 Nations.

Cole will have further specialist assessment on Tuesday evening and England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “It’s massively disappointing for Dan, Leicester and England but the important thing is that this has been diagnosed and that Dan gets the appropriate rest and treatment.

“Our medics are working closely with Leicester’s to come up with a programme that will ensure Dan returns in the best possible shape. In the meantime, it’s great to have David Wilson back, as well as Henry Thomas who has trained well and came off the bench against Scotland and this will be an opportunity to develop experience in this area.”

Leicester Tigers Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill said:  “It’s very disappointing for us and for England, and obviously for Dan, but his long-term fitness is more important. He’ll have time to get over this issue and come back when the medical teams are satisfied with his progress.

The following players reported to Pennyhill Park this evening to prepare for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham.

Forwards (17)
David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (16)
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)


England supporters can use #carrythemhome to tweet their motivational messages to the team, which could then appear on the Twickenham Stadium tunnel wall as the players take to the field. Before the roar of the crowd, the national anthems, or that first blow of the whistle, your words will inspire England. Be the First Contact.

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