Saints without five England stars for crucial trip to Bristol Bears

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Saints are set to be without five England players for Friday's crucial Gallagher Premiership game at Bristol Bears (kick-off 7.45pm).

David Ribbans and Tommy Freeman, who both started for the black, green and gold against Gloucester last Saturday, have been added to the Red Rose group that won in Wales.

Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam and Alex Mitchell all featured in last Saturday's Guinness Six Nations clash in Cardiff, and they remain with England this week.

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It means there will be a quintet of Saints players at the Brighton training camp, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday.

Courtney Lawes made a successful return from injury as England beat Wales last SaturdayCourtney Lawes made a successful return from injury as England beat Wales last Saturday
Courtney Lawes made a successful return from injury as England beat Wales last Saturday

But those involved in it will not be able to play for their clubs at the weekend.

Bristol will be without props Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler on Friday night as they remain with England.

England's next fixture comes against France at Twickenham on Saturday, March 11.

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Red Rose boss Steve Borthwick said: “This week we move our training camp to Brighton, as we meet up again after last weekend’s win in Cardiff.

“The performance against Wales was pleasing in a number of important respects. It was good to see the hard work the squad have put in on the training field reflected in a deserved and hard-won victory.

“Reduced fallow week squad numbers, injuries and our wish for some players to have valuable game time minutes with their clubs, means that the squad gathered in Brighton has a slightly different feel to it. We are very pleased to welcome back Jonny May.

“The players and coaches alike are looking forward to another three days of focused training, before the full squad meets back up back at Pennyhill Park on Sunday, in anticipation of our continued preparations for the remainder of what is proving to be a magnificent Six Nations tournament."

England squad

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Forwards: Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 8 caps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 98 caps), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 3 caps), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 12 caps), Ben Earl (Saracens, 15 caps), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 46 caps), Jamie George (Saracens, 75 caps), Maro Itoje (Saracens, 65 caps), Courtney Lawes (Saints, 97 caps), Lewis Ludlam (Saints, 17 caps), David Ribbans (Saints, 3 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 59 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 77 caps), Jack Walker (Harlequins, 2 caps), Jack Willis (Toulouse, 8 caps)

Backs: Henry Arundell (London Irish, 5 caps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, 104 caps), Tommy Freeman (Saints, 3 caps), George Ford (Sale Sharks, 81 caps), Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 10 caps), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 72 caps), Alex Mitchell (Saints, 3 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 54 caps), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 20 caps), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps), Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps)