London –Toby Flood's decision to pursue a club career in France effectively cost him his England place when he was left out of coach Stuart Lancaster's 35-man-squad for the 2014 Six Nations on Thursday.
Flood, a veteran of 60 Tests, is set to join French giants Toulouse at the end of the campaign and, with Lancaster holding to his line not to select overseas-based players, the coach has chosen uncapped Bath stand-off George Ford in addition to current first-choice 10 Owen Farrell ahead of the 2015 World Cup in England.
“I am delighted for George who is rewarded for his form for Bath,” said Lancaster in a Rugby Football Union (RFU) statement.
“I have met Toby Flood several times and told him I really wanted him to stay at Leicester and play for England.
“He has made a lifestyle choice and we respect that but given the RFU's policy of not selecting players based overseas save for exceptional circumstances it was important that we allow others such as George Ford to progress.”
England won four of their five matches in last season's Six Nations but finished runners-up to Wales on points difference after suffering a 30-3 thrashing by the eventual champions in a title-decider at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton)Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Stephen Myler (Northampton), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Anthony Watson (Bath), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)
David Attwood (Bath), Dan Cole (Leicester), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Tom Johnson (Exeter), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Ed Slater (Leicester), Henry Thomas (Sale), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Rob Webber (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton), Tom Youngs (Leicester)
England 2014 Six Nations Fixtures:
Feb 01: v France (a)
Feb 08: v Scotland (a)
Feb 22: v Ireland (h)
Mar 09: v Wales (h)
Mar 15: v Italy (a) – Sapa-AFP