BEN MORGAN has retained his place in the senior England squad ahead of the Six Nations – but his former Dursley youth team-mate Charlie Sharples has dropped out.

Winger Sharples impressed when he scored his first two international tries in the win against Fiji in November, but he has been replaced by David Strettle and dropped down to the Saxons squad.

Gloucester No 8 Morgan burst onto the international scene with some impressive performances in last year’s Six Nations and will be hoping to beat Thomas Waldrom for a starting place in the opening game against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday, February 2.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “The fact that we have spent significant time deliberating over quite a few players shows how tough the competition is to get into this 65 and the strength in depth that is emerging. We have made some changes to both squads and we feel that reflects the players’ form during the first half of the season.

“There will be undoubtedly be movement between the two squads as we go through the RBS 6 Nations and that was evident in the QBE Internationals, with players in form pushing through such as Freddie Burns, Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola.

"This is a very important year for England, with the Six Nations and the Saxons games to look forward to so there are some great opportunities for the players to demonstrate their club form at international level.

“The summer tour to Argentina will also be a great chance for those players pushing for a place, especially with some of our senior squad hopefully going with the Lions, and chances will undoubtedly arise as we hope to play two midweek games as well as the two Tests.”