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England 14:30 New Zealand

Tom Croft back in England squad after nine months on the sidelines

Last Updated: 09/01/13 10:36pm

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Tom Croft: played his first game since April last weekend

Tom Croft: played his first game since April last weekend

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Tom Croft, Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees have been named in the 33-man elite-player England squad ahead of the Six Nations.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster has also called up Northampton flanker Calum Clark, who gets the chance to build his Test career after serving a 32-week suspension last season for breaking an opponent's arm.

He is one of two uncapped players alongside Gloucester centre Twelvetrees, who is promoted from the Saxons squad, with Lancaster making seven changes to the squad that beat New Zealand last month.

Leicester back-rower Croft returns after nine months out with a broken neck while Burns is one of three fly-halves with Owen Farrell and Toby Flood, who was cleared of an alleged tip-tackle on Worcester's Andy Goode on Tuesday evening.

Prop Alex Corbisiero is named despite struggling with a knee problem while Wasps lock Joe Launchbury, who impressed during the autumn internationals, retains his place.

England's search for a left wing has led to a return for David Strettle in place of Charlie Sharples, who is more at home on the right, and James Haskell has replaced Phil Dowson in the back row.

Tom Youngs has taken the place of injured Bath hooker Rob Webber and Mako Vunipola is an additional selection in an expanded 33-man squad.

Lancaster has dropped centres Anthony Allen and Jordan Turner-Hall for Burns and Twelvetrees. Clark has been preferred to Mouritz Botha.

Forwards: C Clark, D Cole, A Corbisiero, T Croft, D Hartley, J Haskell, T Johnson, J Launchbury, C Lawes, J Marler, B Morgan, G Parling, C Robshaw, M Vunipola, T Waldrom, D Wilson, T Wood, T Youngs

Backs: C Ashton, B Barritt, M Brown, F Burns, D Care, L Dickson, O Farrell, T Flood, B Foden, A Goode, J Joseph, D Strettle, M Tuilagi, B Twelvetrees, B Youngs

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