Stuart Lancaster picked Dylan Hartley in England's EPS after 'long conversation'

Last Updated: 01/08/13 4:12pm

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Stuart Lancaster (left) and Dylan Hartley: England head coach is giving Northampton hooker another chance

Stuart Lancaster (left) and Dylan Hartley: England head coach is giving Northampton hooker another chance

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster admitted it was a tough decision to include Dylan Hartley in his senior elite player squad (EPS).

Northampton hooker Hartley is a veteran of 47 Tests but is banned until September 1 for the latest in a long line of disciplinary indiscretion to blight his career.

Hartley received an 11-week suspension and missed the Lions tour of Australia after he was sent off for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes in last season's Aviva Premiership final.

"I had a long hard think about it and a long conversation with him. I wanted to be reassured that he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong."
Stuart Lancaster on Dylan Hartley

"I had a long hard think about it and a long conversation with him. I wanted to be reassured that he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong," Lancaster said.

"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.

"Unfortunately, we can only have 33 in the senior EPS but those who just missed out have plenty to offer.

"They are still very much in the international picture and there is flexibility built into the system that facilitates that."

'Toughest selection'

Lock Dave Attwood, flanker Matt Kvesic, number eight Billy Vunipola, centre Kyle Eastmond and wings Christian Wade and Marland Yarde are the new additions in the 33-man squad.

Calum Clarke, Tom Johnson, James Haskell, Waldrom, Jonathan Joseph and David Strettle have dropped down to the 32-strong Saxons squad.

"This was the toughest EPS selection we've had to make with fierce competition for places in every area of the squad after an excellent summer for England players at all levels," Lancaster said.

"Christian Wade and Marland Yarde brought their outstanding Aviva Premiership form to the tour.

"Kyle Eastmond showed his potential and by including him in the squad we get a chance to work with him some more as we build towards the autumn.

"Up front, David Attwood adds a physical presence to the second row and in Matt Kvesic and Billy Vunipola we have young back row players who will challenge our more established back row players hard."

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