Ashton makes way for Nowell

Blackpool Citizen: Chris Ashton has been dropped by England Chris Ashton has been dropped by England

England will give uncapped Exeter wing Jack Nowell his debut in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener against France after their patience with Chris Ashton was finally exhausted.

Ashton has been omitted from the 26-man squad that will depart for Paris on Thursday afternoon, while British and Irish Lions scrum-half Ben Youngs has also been axed.

Nowell will start on the right wing with Jonny May of Gloucester, who has made only one Test appearance, earmarked for the left flank.

And with Luther Burrell also set to launch his England career at the Stade de France, head coach Stuart Lancaster will field a promising but untested backline against France

"We have been pleased with the form of Chris Ashton recently," Lancaster said.

"However, Jack Nowell has made great progress on the right wing and has also delivered in big games for Exeter.

"We feel it is the right time to look at another option in that position.

"Chris remains an important member of the squad and I'm sure he'll be working hard to regain that position during the course of the Six Nations."

The absence of Youngs from England's Championship opener places Danny Care in pole position to start, with Lee Dickson supplying cover from the bench.

"Competition at scrum-half has been particularly tight and Danny's form leading into the Six Nations has been excellent and merits his inclusion," Lancaster said.

"Ben misses out this time but he's a quality player and I'm sure he'll respond in the same way Danny did at the start of the year."

Among the 26 bound for the French capital are Nowell's fellow uncapped threequarters Luther Burrell, George Ford and Anthony Watson.

Burrell is set to make his debut at outside centre, while Ford and Watson could feature on the bench depending on how Lancaster sets up his replacements.

The 23-man match-day squad will be named on Thursday morning, with three players travelling as cover.

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