Stuart Lancaster to name England squads on Thursday - will Chris Ashton make it?
England coach Stuart Lancaster will name his elite player and Saxons squads on Thursday.
Last Updated: 01/08/13 12:19pm
Lancaster has a number of questions to answer, chief among them the future of winger Chris Ashton.
His place in the squad is likely to come under pressure from a number of young players including Marland Yarde and Christian Wade, who impressed in the summer tour of South America.
Ashton was one of five senior players rested from that tour but his place looks to be most under threat with Chris Robshaw, Brad Barritt, Danny Care and Toby Flood all likely inclusions and squad members when the Autumn internationals come around.
The Saracens winger has seen his stock fall in recent seasons and Lancaster's faith in him could be seriously tested - he was ignored in favour of Wade when the Lions called up Wade and then veteran Shane Wlliams as injury replacements during their tour of Australia.
His outside back puzzle is made tougher by Alex Goode's shoulder injury as he will not be back in action until October after undergoing surgery.
David Strettle's England future is also in question but outside the wing question, Lancaster is expected to keep changes to a minimum.
Kyle Eastmond is a possible inclusion in the backs and in the pack there is every chance flanker Matt Kvesic, who starts life with Gloucester this season, will be included after an impressive summer.
Billy Vunipola is likely to step up from the Saxons and among Lancaster's other questions - albeit for later in the summer - is who to name captain, with Tom Wood a possible to take over from Robshaw after filling the post with great success in South America.