Saints trio retained by England ahead of Scotland clash

Paul Hill has been retained by England (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Paul Hill has been retained by England (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints prop Paul Hill has been retained by England, putting him in position to play a part in the Six Nations opener in Scotland on February 6.

Courtney Lawes and new Red Rose captain Dylan Hartley will also be staying in camp this week, meaning they will also be unavailable for Saints’ clash with Wasps on Friday night.

Wasps will be without Joe Launchbury and James Haskell, who are among the others retained, but they will be boosted by the availability of centre Elliot Daly and prop Matt Mullan, who have both been released.

From a Saints perspective, Hill’s absence will open the door for Gareth Denman to make his first start of the season at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.

But they will be short of cover, with Kieran Brookes still recovering from knee surgery.

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder has previously told this publication that he could look to strengthen at tighthead should Hill and Brookes be missing at any point.

Though he has full faith that Denman, who played for England Saxons last season, can step up, Mallinder knows back-up is needed.

“At this moment in time, we’re fine on our loosehead side, but with the EPS agreement we’ve suddenly got two tightheads who are in the squad, so that is an area we need to look at,” Mallinder said on January 13.

On Denman he added: “He’s probably frustrated that his opportunities haven’t been as great as in previous years, but he’s been training really well and looking forward to his opportunities.”

For Hill, the call-up caps a sensational rise to prominence.

The 20-year-old prop joined Saints from Yorkshire Carnegie last summer and has since made 15 appearances, starting the past five games.

He was a Junior World Championship winner with England Under-20s in 2014, but has yet to win a senior cap.

Forwards (13)

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)

Jack Clifford (Harlequins)

Jamie George (Saracens)

Dylan Hartley (Saints)

James Haskell (Wasps)

Paul Hill (Saints)

George Kruis (Saracens)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps)

Courtney Lawes (Saints)

Joe Marler (Harlequins)

Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Backs (10)

Mike Brown (Harlequins)

Danny Care (Harlequins)

Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby)

Owen Farrell (Saracens)

George Ford (Bath Rugby)

Alex Goode (Saracens)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)