Flood cleared for England's Six Nations campaign
Updated: Wednesday, 09 Jan 2013 11:11
Toby Flood will be named in England's RBS 6 Nations squad today after a citing for an alleged tip tackle was dismissed at a Rugby Football Union hearing.
The disciplinary panel found that Worcester fly-half Andy Goode had been the victim of a dangerous challenge - but they were not convinced Flood could be held solely responsible.
Flood made the first hit on Goode in Leicester's 19-14 Aviva Premiership victory last Friday night, before being joined in the tackle by team-mate Rob Hawkins. Worcester's James Percival was also in close proximity.
Panel chairman Jeremy Summers said: "Whilst we found that the elements of a dangerous tackle were made out, after very careful analysis we could not be satisfied, to that standard required, that the dynamics of the incident had not been caused, or contributed to, significantly by the involvement of other players from both teams."
As a result, Flood is free to play in Leicester's forthcoming Heineken Cup fixtures against Ospreys and Toulouse before linking up with England for the Six Nations.
Flood is one of three fly-halves who will be named in a 33-man England squad that is set to feature the uncapped pair of Northampton flanker Calum Clark and Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees.
Joe Launchbury, Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola and Freddie Burns are all in line to be officially promoted into the senior group and the Saracens wing David Strettle is on course for a recall.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster will announce his elite player squad (EPS) in Leeds at 12.45pm.
Clark, the combative Northampton flanker, trained with England during last year's Six Nations squad before serving a 32-week ban for breaking the arm of Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins.
But Lancaster has been a long-time admirer of Clark, who emerged through the Leeds academy when England's coach was in charge at Headingley.
Lancaster appears ready to present the 23-year-old with a second chance to build an England career.
Clark has played the majority of his rugby in the back row but he has featured at lock for Northampton, a versatility which could prove useful to England in the championship.
The England management believe Gloucester's Twelvetrees has all the attributes to be an international inside centre and he has forged an effective club partnership with Freddie Burns at fly-half.
Both are understood to have won senior England call-ups, with Twelvetrees expected to replace Leicester's Anthony Allen and Burns taking over from Harlequins' Jordan Turner-Hall.
Burns, Launchbury, Youngs and Vunipola were officially acting as injury cover when they helped England to a record 38-21 victory over the All Blacks in December. All four have been rewarded with formal inclusion.
Youngs will replace the injured Bath hooker Rob Webber while Launchbury is expected to oust his Wasps colleague Tom Palmer.
Lancaster's search for a left wing appears to have taken him back to Strettle. Gloucester's Charlie Sharples, a right wing by trade, is the most vulnerable.
Tom Croft has made his comeback for Leicester after eight months out with a neck injury but he is unlikely to feature in the Six Nations, with medics closely managing his return to action.
That could open the door for Wasps' dynamic number eight Billy Vunipola - brother of Mako - to link with the England squad during the championship and apply compete for a place with Thomas Waldrom and Ben Morgan.