Six Nations: Stuart Lancaster set to give young England backs a chance
England coach Stuart Lancaster is ready to give some of his young backs a chance in the forthcoming Six Nations.
Last Updated: 22/01/14 10:40pm
Saracens centre Brad Barritt is available again after missing the autumn internationals with an ankle injury and he trained with the England squad when they met up for the first time on Tuesday.
However Lancaster, who is already without Manu Tuilagi, Jonathan Joseph, Henry Trinder and Joel Tomkins, admits the opening Six Nations game against France in Paris on February 1 may come too soon for him.
Lancaster is also weighing up his options on the wing with Marland Yarde, Christian Wade and Ben Foden absent.
The injuries are likely to give the likes of Kyle Eastmond, Luther Burrell, Jonny May and Jack Nowell the chance to prove themselves ahead of next year's World Cup.
Lancaster told Sky Sports News: "We'll see how Brad goes. It was his first training session back with us so he's been out a while.
"We have obviously got Kyle, Luther, Billy Twelvetrees, etc, and obviously on the wings as well with Marland and Christian Wade and Ben Foden being injured, so probably in the outside backs we will have to blood some experience.
"But I think now is the time to do it and find out where we are - 20 games out from the World Cup - but also at this point in this Six Nations.
"We want to be in a position this time next year, when we sit here in January, that we are pretty certain what our combinations are.
"We know we are going to pick a squad of 30 for the World Cup and we want to be certain. I think this next block of games - whether it's here, whether it's the summer tour of New Zealand and whether it's the QBEs in November - they are important to really cement our selection thoughts."
Lancaster has also revealed that Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care will return to training with England on Thursday following ankle trouble.
Only 20 matches remain until England launch their home World Cup at Twickenham on September 18 next year, and while Lancaster is ready to test those he believes are equipped for the task, he will not take any risks.
"The challenge is to get the team ready to try and win the World Cup because ultimately that's what we'll all be judged on," Lancaster said at the Six Nations launch in south west London.
"You would never approach a game against France, or any Six Nations match, as an experiment because you want to win.
"It's a results-based business. There are no friendlies in international rugby. You can't see a game as a trial. The players have to be ready.
"What you don't want to do is put a player into an environment like France away if they're not quite ready. It's not fair on the player.
"But if a player looks ready I'd rather find out about his potential to play international rugby now than being sat here in January 2015 worrying over whether they're ready with the World Cup just around the corner."