Croft returns to the England fold

BASINGSTOKE-BORN rugby star Tom Croft has been named in the England squad for the upcoming Six Nations, despite playing just one game after nine months out with a neck injury.

The 27-year-old, who grew up in Kingsclere, made his first appearance of the season last Friday, helping Leicester Tigers to a 19-14 victory over Worcester Warriors.

“It was nice to finally go over that threshold and play the game and come through,” Croft said. “It was just about getting through the game unscathed.

“Over the last two or three months, I have just been thinking about this first game. Firstly, will I survive it? I’ve ticked that box but secondly, it’s about getting back to how I was playing before I got injured.”

It was thought that Croft’s late return would rule him out for the Six Nations, which gets under way on February 2, but he has been named in England’s 33-man squad.

Joining him are London Irish duo Alex Corbisiero and Jonathan Joseph, but former Lord Wandsworth College pupil Ugo Monye has been left out.

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