Chris Robshaw has been confirmed as England captain for the upcoming Autumn Internationals starting next month.
The Harlequins skipper has led his country in all but one of eight Tests under Stuart Lancaster and the Head Coach this afternoon announced his appointment for the games against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium.
Lancaster said: "Chris has been outstanding on and off the field and we are delighted that he will captain the team for what will be an immense challenge in the Internationals.
"We have a strong leadership group in this squad and I know that Chris will be well supported by them in the weeks ahead.
"It was important to wait until after last weekend's Aviva Premiership matches to check on everyone's form and fitness and not interrupt the players preparations. I have had the chance now to have a 1:1 catch-up with each player and we are really pleased to announce Chris as captain."
Robshaw said: "It's a real honour to be asked again. I enjoyed being captain in the RBS 6 Nations and in South Africa and this is a great group of players who really want to be successful. "
"We are lucky to have some good leaders in the squad who I know I can work well with and count on their support. We have a huge opportunity to put a marker down over the next few weeks and just from training this morning you can see how keen the boys are to play."
Nine players will this evening be released back to their Aviva Premiership clubs under the RFU's Elite Player Squad agreement with Premiership Rugby - Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
Hartley and Lawes have beeen released for treatment on knee injuries as part of a co-ordinated programme between England and Northampton Saints. They will be reassessed by the England medical team at Pennyhill Park on Sunday.
Lancaster added: "It has been a busy few days of training as well as injury assessment and in line with the EPS agreement coordinating the release of players, some will return for further treatment from their club and others to get some game time to put a marker down for selection for when we meet again on Sunday after the weekend's games."
"We will not finalise selection for the Fiji game until after training next Tuesday and so for those going back and playing this is a real opportunity to stake a claim with a really big performance."
Matt Mullan of Worcester Warriors and George Robson of Harlequins will train with the squad tomorrow before returning to their clubs.