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England release five back to Tigers

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Five Leicester Tigers are among the group of England squad players who have been released back to their clubs ahead of this weekend's Guinness Premiership fixtures.

Jordan Crane, Louis Deacon, Toby Flood, Dan Hipkiss and Ben Youngs have all been released by the England management and will be available for selection for Saturday’s league match against Gloucester at Welford Road (3pm).

Lewis Moody, who has started in the England back row in each of the opening two rounds of the RBS 6 Nations, and tightead prop Dan Cole, who has gained his first senior caps in the last fortnight, have been retained by the England management from the Tigers contingent.

England team manager Johnson wants to give several players the opportunity of gaining match action before the return to the Six Nations and the Twickenham clash with Ireland on February 27.

The other England men returning to their clubs are Steffon Armitage and Paul Hodgson (London Irish), Chris Ashton and Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Chris Robshaw of Harlequins, Dan Ward-Smith of London Wasps and the Bath Rugby trio Shontayne Hape, Matt Banahan and David Wilson.

Johnson said: "Some of the players who haven’t had too much match time will go back and play and then we can assess them next week.

“There are no major injuries at this stage, just a few bumps and bruises, but nothing to put anyone in danger of not training next week.

“A couple of players have minor knocks and Lewis Moody has various things – as usual."

Tickets for Saturday’s match between Tigers and Gloucester are available now from the Tigers ticket office. Phone the Tigers ticket hotline on 0844 856 1880, book online or call in at Welford Road to guarantee the best available seats.