Owen Farrell Farrell has proved a consistent performer for Saracens this seasonSaracens back Owen Farrell is one of nine uncapped players in England’s squad for this season’s Six Nations.Farrell headed a clutch of new faces promoted to the 32-man elite squad, while interim head coach Stuart Lancaster discarded a host of veterans.

Also included are Scarlets number eight Ben Morgan and Northampton trio Calum Clark, Phil Dowson and Lee Dickson.

Mike Tindall, Mark Cueto, Nick Easter, Shontayne Hape and Riki Flutey all failed to make the cut.

The retirement of several of the team’s stalwarts and a string of injuries forced some changes, while others were always likely following a dismal World Cup campaign that ended in quarter-final defeat by France.

World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson, former skipper Lewis Moody and hooker Steve Thompson all announced their retirements after returning from New Zealand.

Analysis

Tom Fordyce,
Chief sports writer, BBC Sport

If anyone had been in any doubt, the old England regime – damaged and discredited by what happened on and off the pitch in New Zealand last autumn – has gone for good. In new boys Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt, Lee Dickson and Calum Clark, interim coach Stuart Lancaster has picked what he hopes will form the basis of England’s team at the next World Cup. This is a fresh look designed for a fresh start

Among the short-term injured are fly-half Toby Flood, centre Manu Tuilagi and lock Courtney Lawes, while prop Andrew Sheridan, lock Louis Deacon and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth are out for the tournament.

Farrell’s midfield partner at Saracens, Brad Barritt, also made Lancaster’s first squad, as did prop Joe Marler and centre Jordan Turner-Hall (both of Harlequins) and Wasps hooker Rob Webber.

Flankers Tom Wood and Chris Robshaw are widely considered to be vying for the captaincy but Lancaster said he would make that decision nearer the first match, against Scotland at Murrayfield on 4 February.

Four members of the Saxons squad will join the elite squad as temporary injury cover – second rows Dave Atwood of Bath and Geoff Parling of Leicester, Saracens full-back Alex Goode and Gloucester centre Henry Trinder, the last three all uncapped.

Lancaster said: “We’ve picked a side which is exciting, talented and committed to get us back to where we want to be – at the top of the game.

“I’ve spoken to those not selected and told them the door is not closed.

“But I want to use this Six Nations as an opportunity to develop the next players in those positions and develop a leadership group that is strong and wants to be the best.

ENGLAND’S INJURED LIST

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  • Manu Tuilagi (hamstring) – doubt for first 2 games
  • Toby Flood (knee) – doubt for first 2 games
  • Courtney Lawes (knee) – doubt for opening game
  • Louis Deacon (hamstring) – out of whole tournament
  • Andrew Sheridan (shoulder) – out of whole tournament
  • Richard Wigglesworth (knee) – out of whole tournament

“We think it’s a tremendous opportunity to build a squad that has potential for now and for the future.

“We trust the players we have selected – a lot have been involved for a while and have been to the World Cup.

“They have been on the cusp of it for a while. Now they deserve their chance after proving themselves in big games for their clubs.”

While Lancaster has yet to decide on his captain, he challenged senior players, including Northampton’s Wood, Harlequins’ Robshaw, Flood and his Leicester half-back partner Ben Youngs, to make their case.

He added: “The most important thing is to get the leadership group right. We need to develop a new group of leaders. From there, natural leaders will emerge.”

Farrell began last season playing for Bedford Blues, as part of a dual registration with Saracens, but was given a chance back at his parent club following injuries at fly-half.

He has since emerged as a key figure for Premiership champions Saracens and will now join his coach and father Andy in the England set-up.

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With Flood injured for the first two games, Farrell, 20, could form a midfield partnership with Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson, although Barritt has made the Sarries number 12 jersey his own this season.

Morgan is included after declaring his allegiance for his native country. The Bristol-born 22-year-old also had the option of playing for Wales after qualifying under the three-year residency rule.

With Danny Care suspended after his drink-driving charge and Wigglesworth among those on the injured list, scrum-half Dickson’s inclusion was widely expected after some fine displays in the Aviva Premiership this season.

Dowson, 30, has been on the fringes of the England senior squad for several years now, while his Saints back-row partner Clark, 22, is perhaps the boldest selection.

While back-row James Haskell is unavailable as he enjoys a sabbatical in Japan, Lancaster included Stade Francais lock Tom Palmer as an exception to the Rugby Football Union’s stated intention to only pick home-based players.

England’s 32-man Elite Player Squad for the Six Nations Championship:

Forwards: Props: A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), J Marler (Harlequins), M Stevens (Saracens), D Wilson (Bath Rugby); Hookers: D Hartley (Northampton Saints), L Mears (Bath Rugby), R Webber (London Wasps); Locks: M Botha (Saracens), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), T Palmer (Stade Francais). Back-rows: C Clark (Northampton Saints), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), P Dowson (Northampton Saints), B Morgan (Scarlets), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton Saints).

Backs:Full-backs: M Brown (Harlequins), B Foden (Northampton Saints), Wings: C Ashton (Northampton Saints), C Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), D Strettle (Saracens); Centres: B Barritt (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins); Fly-halves: T Flood (Leicester Tigers), C Hodgson (Saracens); Scrum-halves: L Dickson (Northampton Saints), J Simpson (London Wasps), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

England Saxons 32-man squad for fixtures against the Ireland Wolfhounds and Scotland A:

Forwards: Props: P Doran Jones (Northampton Saints),M Mullan (Worcester Warriors), H Thomas (Sale Sharks), N Wood (Gloucester Rugby); Hookers: C Brooker (Harlequins), J Gray (Harlequins), D Paice (London Irish); Locks: *D Attwood (Bath Rugby), *G Parling (Leicester Tigers), M Garvey (London Irish), G Robson (Harlequins), Back-rows: J Gaskell (Sale Sharks), J Gibson (London Irish), T Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), J Launchbury (London Wasps), A Saull (Saracens), T Waldrom (Leicester Tigers).

Backs: Full-backs: N Abendanon (Bath Rugby), D Armitage (London Irish), *A Goode (Saracens); Wings: M Banahan (Bath Rugby), J Joseph (London Irish),U Monye (Harlequins); Centres: A Allen (Leicester Tigers), J May (Gloucester Rugby), *H Trinder (Gloucester Rugby), B Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers); Fly-halves: F Burns (Gloucester Rugby), R Lamb (Northampton Saints); Scrum-halves: K Dickson (Harlequins), M Young (Leicester Tigers).

*denotes players who are providing temporary injury cover in the elite squad.