James Forrester has joined Gloucester's six senior Elite Player Squad members in the 42-man England training list for a three-day session in Leeds next week in preparation for the RBS Six Nations Championship.
Forrester, who was named in the Elite Player Squad Academy list on Tuesday, will join up with Henry Paul, Alex Brown, Andy Gomarsall, Andy Hazell, James Simpson-Daniel and Phil Vickery.
For the first time, the squad will spend part of the session training with Leeds Rhinos, the current rugby league champions.
Robinson selected a squad that includes Jonny Wilkinson (Newscastle Falcons), Mike Tindall (Bath) and Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers), as it is anticipated they will recover from injury in time to play a part in the RBS 6 Nations.
This is the first time the England squad have trained with rugby league. The initiative is led by England head coach Andy Robinson, who has planned the session with Leeds Rhinos head coach Tony Smith.
As England prepare for the RBS 6 Nations and Leeds Rhinos prepare for their match against the Australian NRL Champions Canterbury Bulldogs next month, both codes anticipate benefitting from these joint sessions. Said Robinson,
"We're looking forward to training with the Rhinos tremendously. It's fair to say Tony, myself and our coaches are excited about the whole concept. It's uncharted territory for all of us. We can all learn something from each other and anything that gives you an edge is always worth doing."
All 42 players invited to Leeds are part of the revised 2004-2005 Elite Player Squad (including the Academy and Sevens list) of 56 players.
ENGLAND PLAYERS FOR LEEDS TRAINING
ABBOTT, Stuart - London Wasps
BALSHAW, Iain - Leeds Tykes
BARKLEY, Olly - Bath
BEATTIE, Andy - Bath
BORTHWICK, Steve - Bath
BROWN, Alex - Gloucester
CHUTER George - Leicester Tigers
COHEN, Ben - Northampton Saints
CORRY, Martin - Leicester Tigers
CUETO, Mark - Sale Sharks
DAWSON, Matt - London Wasps
DEACON, Louis - Leicester Tigers
ELLIS, Harry - Leicester Tigers
FORRESTER, James - Gloucester
GOMARSALL, Andy - Gloucester
GREWCOCK, Danny - Bath
HAZELL, Andy - Gloucester
HODGSON, Charlie - Sale Sharks
JONES, Chris -Sale Sharks
KAY, Ben - Leicester Tigers
KING, Alex - London Wasps
LEWSEY, Josh - London Wasps
MOODY, Lewis - Leicester Tigers
NOON, Jamie - Newcastle Falcons
PAUL, Henry - Gloucester
ROBINSON, Jason - Sale Sharks
ROWNTREE, Graham - Leicester Tigers
SHAW, Simon - London Wasps
SHERIDAN, Andy - Sale Sharks
SIMPSON-DANIEL, James - Gloucester
STEVENS, Matt - Bath
SMITH, Ollie - Leicester Tigers
TAIT, Mathew - Newcastle Falcons
THOMPSON, Steve - Northampton Saints
TINDALL, Mike - Bath
TITTERRELL, Andy - Sale Sharks
VICKERY, Phil - Gloucester
VOYCE, Tom - London Wasps
VYVYAN, Hugh - Saracens
WHITE, Julian - Leicester Tigers
WILKINSON, Jonny - Newcastle Falcons
WORSLEY, Joe - London Wasps
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
After a series of contract announcements last week, hooker Richard Hibbard is the latest Gloucester Rugby player to commit to a new contract at the club and told GRTV how much he enjoys playing in the Cherry and White of Gloucester.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.