RUGBY: Attwood retained by England as Wilson nears Bath comeback (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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RUGBY: Attwood retained by England as Wilson nears Bath comeback
BATH lock Dave Attwood has been retained by England with head coach Stuart Lancaster naming an unchanged matchday squad for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland at Murrayfield.
Lancaster has kept faith with the 23 that slipped to an agonising late defeat to France on the opening day of the Championship, meaning Bath's Anthony Watson and fly-half George Ford are among 10 players to have been released back to their clubs for the weekend's Aviva Premiership action.
"All the squad have been excellent in training over the last two days and I know those going back to play for their clubs will be determined to put a marker down for the subsequent Six Nations matches," Lancaster said.
Meanwhile, Bath an England prop Davey Wilson could be on course for a comeback in the club's Aviva Premiership clash with Newcastle Falcons on Saturday (3pm).
Loosehead Wilson has been out of action since mid-December with a calf strain but has trained this week and could hand both his club and country a boost.
Frst team coach Neal Hatley said yesterday: "Davey trained yesterday and today and we'll assess how he feels after that.
"We're very fortuate that we have got people like Juan Pablo Orlandi, Ant Perenise and Kane Palma-Newport s we're not going to rush Davey back for the sake of seven to 10 days.
"We've been very patient with him and we want to make sure he's really confident in that calf injury. If it's all good, we'd like to use him on the weekend and I know England will be in a hurry to get him back, just for the immense value he brings as a scrummager.''
Hatley paid tribute to full-back Nick Abendanon, who earlier this week confirmed his exit from Bath at the end of the season, when he will join French side Clermont-Auvergne.
"Anybody who has followed Bath over the last 10-12 years will know what he's done for this club,' added Hatley.
"He's been a warrior for the club and in dark times he's been a bit of a shining light. His counterattacks and his enthusiasm on defence, I've enjoyed working with him immensely in the two years I've been working here.
"I can't speak highly enough of him. He's been a great servant and he leaves here with everybody's best wishes. It's an unbelievable opportunity and he goes with our blessing.
"Knowing Nick like we do, he'll be 100 miles an hour until the day he leaves.''
Youngsters Kane Palma-Newport and Olly Woodburn, as well as England international Kyle Eastmond also agreed contract extensions this week.
"Kane's a Bath boy born and bred and it means an unbelievable amount for him to pull the jersey on,'' added Hatley.
"It's very important to keep players like that. We feel both players have made great strides forward in the last 18 months and it's more of a reward for the work they've put in.
"We've spent a lot of time with Kyle and we couldn't be more pleased. It's been documented this season what happened (Eastmond was disciplined after walking out on the squad during an LV= Cup match at Sale in November) but in the last six to eight weeks he's been phenomenal.
"His attitude has been fantastic and we've had some reports back from England that he's been outstanding.
You want players like Kyle. He's a game breaker on a given day and he can set the whole game alight and we think in terms of understanding the union game, he's only really just grasped it. From here we can see him getting better and better.''
Tickets are still available for Saturday's game against Newcastle. Call the ticket office on 0844 448 1865.
MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS & REACTION IN THE BUILD-UP TO THE NEWCASTLE GAME IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES
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