Dan Cole and Ben Youngs win spots in England's Elite Player Squad
Leicester Tigers duo Dan Cole and Ben Youngs have earned call-ups to England's Elite Player Squad.
The tight-head prop and scrum-half put in some strong performances on England's recent tour of Australia and have been moved up from the Saxons squad.
Hooker George Chuter goes in the same direction after ousting Bath's Lee Mears in the EPS set-up after a cracking end to the domestic season.
Blind-side flanker Tom Croft and fly-half Toby Flood complete the five-strong Tigers contingent in team manager Martin Johnson's 32-man squad. There are also five Tigers in the Saxons set-up with Louis Deacon moving down from the EPS and fellow lock Geoff Parling earning a call-up after impressing in Australia.
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They are joined by Jordan Crane and Dan Hipkiss, who get back in the England set-up having been left out of summer tours, and Anthony Allen, who had an excellent Churchill Cup in America.
The big story to come out of Johnson's announcement is that skipper Steve Borthwick has been dropped for the forthcoming season and replaced by Gloucester's Dave Attwood.
Borthwick's fall has been rapid and it represents a marked change in direction from Johnson and the England management who had stood by the Saracens man in the face of widespread criticism in the last 12 months.
"Leaving Steve Borthwick out was a very hard decision," said Johnson. "He's done a fantastic job for England over the last couple of years."