14 England players selected for clubs

England’s coach Brian Ashton will be forced to sit and wait to hear which of his players will be available next weekend after 14 of his 22 players to face Ireland next Saturday were picked for club duty.

England had pleaded for the Premiership clubs to rest players but the clubs have stuck to their guns and picked their strongest sides this round of the league.

In Ashton’s England backline Olly Morgan, Josh Lewsey, Andy Farrell and Jason Robinson will play this weekend. In the forwards players like Danny Grewcock, Joe Worsley and Magnus Lund will also start for their clubs.

Then all seven of the players who Ashton picked for England’s bench for next week’s Six Nations clash will start matches this weekend.

Ireland’s players on the other hand are largely being rested which gives Ireland the upper hand as England’s fitness and practice sessions will be less than that of Ireland.

“To be fair to the clubs, we are delighted that eight of the starting XV won’t be playing this weekend,” Rob Andrew told the BBC.

“I spoke to all of the directors of rugby this week, and we totally respect their right to pick players. They’ve all made the decisions for what they consider to be the best reasons for the player and the club.

“We just made the point that we have a massive international against Ireland at Croke Park next week, and it would be in England’s best interests if the players didn’t play.

“We would like to create a level playing field for the England players going into a game against Ireland – who will have two weeks’ preparation for next Saturday’s game.”

Two players who have been rested are England captain Phil Vickery and Jonny Wilkinson who had a few niggles so it was thought best to rest him.

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