England
Vunipola, Care and Eastmond left out for Samoa Test
ESPN Staff
November 18, 2014
Billy Vunipola started for England at No.8 against South Africa last Saturday © Getty Images
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England have dropped Billy Vunipola, Danny Care and Kyle Eastmond from their matchday squad for Saturday's Test against Samoa at Twickenham.

The trio make way for James Haskell, Richard Wigglesworth and Billy Twelvetrees as head coach Stuart Lancaster reacts to the narrow defeats by New Zealand and South Africa.

"We always wanted to use these four games to look at options in our squad and Billy, Richard and James have been in great form for their clubs and pressing hard in training," Lancaster said.

Vunipola has paid the price for an error-strewn display in the 31-28 loss to South Africa last Saturday and is likely to be replaced as starting number eight by Ben Morgan.

Tom Wood survives another week despite an underwhelming autumn, but he could be demoted to the role of offering back row cover from the bench with 51-cap international Haskell picked at blindside flanker.

Care's collapse in form has resulted in his omission from the 23, leaving Wigglesworth and Ben Youngs to battle it out for the scrum-half duties.

Eastmond was concussed against South Africa and has been unable to train this week, so England have called in Twelvetrees, who has recovered from an ankle problem.

Lancaster, who names his starting XV on Wednesday afternoon, has hinted that he would opt for George Ford at fly-half with Owen Farrell moving to inside centre, a selection that would force Twelvetrees to settle for a spot among the replacements.

Flanker Calum Clark and centre Luther Burrell have been overlooked and will return to their club Northampton.

"Kyle has not been able to train due to the graduated return to play protocol. Hopefully he will be available for his club this weekend along with the other released players," Lancaster said.

Haskell won the last of his 51 caps in the first Test of the summer tour to New Zealand, acquitting himself well only to be dropped for the second and third games of the 3-0 series defeat.

It is hoped the Wasps captain's inclusion will shake up an under-performing back row as England seek to end a run of five successive defeats, albeit all of them to New Zealand or South Africa.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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