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White takes Stevens England place

Julian White
White will join Martin Johnson's squad for their training camp in Portugal

England have called up veteran Leicester prop Julian White to replace Bath's Matt Stevens in their elite squad ahead of the Six Nations.

White, at 35 the oldest surviving member of the 2003 World Cup-winning squad, won the last of his 44 caps two years ago against Wales in Cardiff.

He made himself unavailable for the 2007 Rugby World Cup because he did not want to leave his farm or young family.

Stevens was suspended from playing after failing a drug test.

"Illegal drug use cannot be tolerated," said England manager Martin Johnson.

Julian has had time out of the England set-up but is in good form

Martin Johnson
"The regulations are very clear that any player who has tested positive is immediately provisionally suspended from all competition pending a disciplinary hearing.

"Matt has admitted that he has a problem and on behalf of the England players and management we hope his rehabilitation programme is successful."

White, who also has four caps for the British & Irish Lions, will provide extra competition for Phil Vickery, the only other specialist tight-head in the senior squad.

"Julian is an experienced international," Johnson said of his former team-mate. "He has had time out of the England set-up but is in good form.

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"He is ready to make a step back up to the senior squad."

Leicester acting head coach Richard Cockerill said recently of White: "I do not know of a better tight-head than him in the Premiership, if not the world."

Alex Corbisiero of London Irish has replaced White in the Saxons squad.

"Alex was one of the stand-out players in the Under-20 side that reached the final of the Junior World Championship last year," Johnson added.

"He has had an outstanding season for London Irish and it's the right time to bring him into the Saxons."

The England senior squad will head for a week's training camp in Portugal on Sunday.

Their first Six Nations game is against Italy at Twickenham on 7 February.



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see also
Bath feel 'let down' by Stevens
21 Jan 09 |  English
Ellis to make return with Saxons
21 Jan 09 |  English
White unavailable for World Cup
12 Jul 07 |  English
Wales 27-18 England
17 Mar 07 |  Rugby Union


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