The news that England stalwarts Nick Easter and Mark Cueto will not feature in their sides Six Nations shows that Stuart Lancaster is looking to the future and looking to build a side that can go well beyond his tenure as Interim coach.
At 32 and 33 respectively, Cueto and Easter may well not be around at the highest level at England 2015, but that has not stopped them dreaming of further England caps.
Both Easter and Cueto believe they still have a lot to offer the England team and have vowed to prove Lancaster wrong, and force him to give them a call up to the elite squad in the future. England are currently second favourites on the 6 Nations betting online, behind World Cup Finalists france.
Often, when a new coach comes in and states he will be looking to the future older players take the chance for a noble standing down from the international stage but not these two. Both told Lancaster they would always be available for England if the call came.
With Lancaster’s decision to pick a young fresh side, excluding Cueto and Easter it would appear their careers are on hold whilst he is in charge. But the chances are he won’t be in charge for long.
His brief was to get England through the Six Nations and start to build towards the future. He is giving the youngsters a taste of the big time and whoever is given the England job full time will no doubt use what is learnt from the Six Nations for future selections though.
Who is to say that Mallett, Smith or whoever takes the role full time will not be open to the idea of a return for Easter or Cueto. The experience these two can offer will no doubt appeal and both also offer potential as possible captains of the side.
The exclusion of these two legends of English rugby from the Six Nations cannot be seen as the end of the road for them then. Lancaster has gone for a youthful squad, but so long as they continue to impress for Harlequins and Sale this season there is nothing to suggest they may not be back in the England squad in the summer, next Autumn or at any point in the future.