England retains Hartley, makes 6 changes to squad
LONDON (AP) — England retained hooker Dylan Hartley despite his latest disciplinary issues and made six changes to its 33-man senior squad on Thursday ahead of the autumn internationals.
Exciting wingers Christian Wade and Marland Yarde were brought in after impressing on the summer tour to Argentina, while lock David Attwood, flanker Matt Kvesic, No. 8 Billy Vunipola and center Kyle Eastmond are the other new faces.
The hot-headed Hartley is currently serving an 11-week ban for swearing at a referee during the English Premiership final in May, but was kept in the squad by England coach Stuart Lancaster as one of two hookers.
“I had a long, hard think about it and a long conversation with him,” Lancaster said. “I wanted to be reassured that he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong.”
Lancaster said it was the “toughest” squad selection he has had to make in his time as coach, with many players putting their hands up for selection after strong performances with the British and Irish Lions in Australia and England in Argentina.
“Twelve current England players were part of a victorious British and Irish Lions tour, eight others won their first caps in Argentina, a number of rested senior players will have benefited from their break and the future looks healthy after our under-20 side won the Junior World Championship for the first time,” Lancaster said.
England plays Australia, Argentina and New Zealand over successive Saturdays between Nov. 2-16.
Forwards: David Attwood, Dan Cole, Alex Corbisiero, Tom Croft, Dylan Hartley, Matt Kvesic, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Geoff Parling, Chris Robshaw, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Tom Wood, Tom Youngs.
Backs: Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Mike Brown, Freddie Burns, Danny Care, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Alex Goode, Kyle Eastmond, Manu Tuilagi, Billy Twelvetrees, Christian Wade, Marland Yarde, Ben Youngs.