Borthwick set to be axed

Attwood poised to take place in elite squad

Last Updated: 01/07/10 2:23pm

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Borthwick: Set to be axed

Borthwick: Set to be axed

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Steve Borthwick looks set to miss out on a place in England's 32-man elite squad when it is announced on Thursday.

The 30-year-old was forced to sit out the tour Down Under through a knee injury - and in his absence, Tom Palmer, Courtney Lawes, Dave Attwood and Simon Shaw all strengthened their claims for the four second row positions, while Geoff Parling did nothing wrong.

The 23-year-old Attwood, though, is likely to be the big winner from the tour to Australia - and although the Gloucester man didn't play in either Tests, his performances for the midweek side were particularly impressive.

Borthwick had captained England throughout Martin Johnson's tenure but Lewis Moody is now likely to carry on in the role after replacing the Saracens lock for the final game of the RBS Six Nations and the two Tests against Australia.

Johnson used 46 players in total Down Under - with Lee Mears and Ugo Monye among those now sweating on their places in the elite squad, along with Mathew Tait.

George Chuter, Steve Thompson and Dylan Hartley appear to have moved ahead of Mears, who toured with the British and Irish Lions 12 months ago, for the No.2 jersey, while Matt Banahan, David Strettle and Monye are competing for the two wing positions behind Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton.

Battle

Tait's position in the centres has come under increased pressure from Dominic Waldouck while Riki Flutey will come back into contention after recovering from injury.

Ben Youngs and Danny Care are set to be joined by Joe Simpson in the battle for the No.9 shirt, meaning Richard Wigglesworth and Paul Hodgson will miss out.

At fly-half Charlie Hodgson looks to lose out to Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood despite an encouraging tour.

Andrew Sheridan and Phil Vickery are both fit again so will be pushing for recalls, although Dan Cole, David Wilson, Tim Payne and Paul Doran-Jones caught the eye in Australia.

There is a real battle for places in the back row with Dan Ward-Smith, Chris Robshaw, Hendre Fourie, Steffon Armitage and Tom Rees among those competing for places.

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