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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Lancaster ushers in new dawn for English

England cut their final ties to the glory days of 2003 and did their best to distance themselves from the debacle of the World Cup as caretaker coach Stuart Lancaster ushered in a new dawn with a squad short on caps but long on youthful ambition.

Lancaster might have been appointed only for the Six Nations but he has taken drastic action in unloading a host of experienced players from a squad that now boasts nine uncapped players, another four with one appearance and little of the baggage that came to weigh so heavily on their predecessors.

Mike Tindall (inset), a 2003 World Cup-winning hero but the central figure in the off-field mayhem that accompanied England's 2011 campaign, slipped off the international scene with barely an eyebrow raised.

Sliding into international oblivion alongside him were Nick Easter and Mark Cueto, both into their 30s, while Shontayne Hape was also jettisoned five months after ex-coach Martin Johnson ridiculed reporters for daring to question his faith in the rugby league convert centre.

"It's about a new era for English rugby," said Lancaster, known throughout the game as a straight-talker, who has already shown a sign of the standards he expects by dropping scrum-half Danny Care for the Six Nations after he was caught drink-driving.

"We want to play a game that excites people," he added.

"The new lads have proven themselves in big games for their clubs in Europe, the likes of Owen Farrell, Charlie Sharples these boys have played big games, Mike Brown is in great form," he said.

"Hopefully ... we've picked a side that's exciting, talented and gets us back where we want to be."

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