England coach Stuart Lancaster recalls versatile forward Calum Clark after ban
Stuart Lancaster believes Northampton forward Calum Clark deserves a second chance with England.
Last Updated: 10/01/13 10:50am
Clark was close to getting his chance with England last year before he was hit with a 32-week ban for breaking the arm of Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins in the LV= Cup final.
The lengthy suspension meant he missed England's summer tour and the autumn internationals, but he is one of two uncapped players, the other being Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees, selected by Lancaster ahead of this year's Six Nations.
"I have coached him since he was 14 and I know him well enough to know that he is hugely regretful of the incident," said the England boss.
"When he went into the hearing he didn't do anything other than put his hands up and say, 'I made a bad mistake, I apologise'. He has never felt anything other than remorse. He has served his punishment, a 32-week ban.
"I was disappointed we ended up in the situation that (he) missed out on developing himself for club and country. Massively.
"But equally, as with other players in the past, I think everyone deserves a second chance - and certainly he does.
"I have watched his games closely and observed his behaviour to make sure he is on the right side of where he should be.
"He has a competitive nature but he is channelling that in the right way. I know what he can offer."
Clark takes the place of lock Mouritz Botha and will offer options in the pack for England, as he can play at both lock and in the back row.
"In addition to his desire to win, his versatility in the second row is an option for us. He is incredibly athletic and very good in the contact areas," Lancaster said.
"He's got to have the desire to play in the second row for him to be successful. I've checked that is the case and he's happy."
The England boss believes the Saints player can make a similar impact during the Six Nations that fresh faces like Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola managed last autumn.
"What he's got to do is make the step from a good player of potential to an international player," Lancaster - who watched Clark develop through the Leeds academy - added.
Launchbury, Youngs, Vunipola and fly-half Freddie Burns have all been officially promoted into the senior squad, having been called up for the autumn Tests as injury cover.