England add Slade and Thomas to Six Nations squad

England have called up Exeter’s Henry Slade as well as Henry Thomas of Bath Rugby to the squad preparing to preparing to face Wales.

Also joining the squad is League convert Sam Burgess who made his international rugby debut on Friday.

All three players featured for England Saxons in their 18-9 victory over Ireland Wolfhounds on Friday.

Slade scored 13 of England’s 18 points including the game’s first try and providing a pinpoint pass for replacement Christian Wade to scoot over for the clinching score as the clock ticked down.

The 21 year-old, who has played much of his club rugby this season at centre, in is camp as injury cover for Bath Rugby centre Kyle Eastmond, who has an injured shoulder.

In-form No.12 Eastmond does not need surgery but he is not yet ready to train. Similarly, Northampton Saints flanker Tom Wood does not need surgery on his injured ankle.

Eastmond’s Bath teammate Henry Thomas, also an impressive performer for the Saxons in Ireland, will meet up with the squad too as tight-head prop David Wilson continues to have treatment for a nerve impingement in his neck.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said,”We are hoping that David’s injury will settle down but we need to consider our options at tight head over the next few days and Henry’s form deserves consideration.

“Kyle’s scan showed that he does not need surgery but he is not back training so we have the option to bring Henry in on the back of a good performance out in Cork.

“Tom also does not require an operation so he is being treated in camp for his ankle injury and is making good progress. He should come into consideration over the next week or so.”

Slade and Thomas will meet up with the squad assembling at Pennyhill Park this evening after flying back from Cork and joining them will be Sam Burgess.

The rugby league convert started for the Saxons and will now spend two days with the senior squad to continue his learning process in union.

Lancaster added,”Sam will just come into camp for two days to further his rugby experience before returning to Bath on Monday evening to get more game time with the club over the next few weeks. He is still learning the game and this is an opportunity to help his development.”

England open their RBS 6 Nations campaign against Wales in Cardiff on Friday, 6 February before hosting Italy at Twickenham Stadium the following Saturday.

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