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ESPN SCRUM / England / News
Ashton and Youngs left out by Lancaster
ESPN Staff
January 28, 2014
A try against Argentina did not rectify Chris Ashton's disappointing form in the autumn © Getty Images

Stuart Lancaster has dropped Chris Ashton in favour of uncapped Exeter wing Jack Nowell for England's Six Nations opener against France in Paris on Saturday.

With his defensive capabilities called into question in recent years in an England jersey, time has finally run out for the Saracens wing who has failed to make the squad of 23 announced on Tuesday evening. Ashton endured a tough autumn campaign and only retained his spot in the squad due to injuries to Marland Yarde and Christian Wade.

Ashton's England career began in exciting fashion, scoring a memorable length-of-the-field try against Australia in only his fifth cap. After scoring six tries in the opening two games of the 2011 Six Nations his international career looked bright but his form for England has stagnated since.

His replacement, the 20-year-old Nowell, is enjoying a growing reputation in the game after some inspired performances both domestically and in Europe, most notably in against Toulon in the Heineken Cup, and it looks like he has done enough to earn himself a start in Paris. Ashton will make way in his place, with Gloucester's Jonny May likely to add to his one England cap on the other wing.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs, who played for the British and Irish Lions last year, has also been left out in favour of Danny Care and Lee Dickson.

There are three other uncapped players - Luther Burrell, George Ford and Anthony Watson.

Forwards: David Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Matt Mullan (London Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers). Backs: Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby).

Uncapped duo Luther Burrell and Jack Nowell have been rewarded for their club form by Stuart Lancaster © Getty Images

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