Andy Farrell remains part of England's World Cup plans despite not having played a single competitive match since his expensive cross-code switch to Saracens more than a year ago.

Farrell, the former Great Britain rugby league captain, is alongside the fit-again Jonny Wilkinson and Worcester forward Pat Sanderson in England's 55-man elite squad for the coming season.

Farrell signed from Wigan in a deal part-funded by the Rugby Football Union while recovering from knee surgery, but missed all of last season after suffering toe and back injuries.

No-one even seems quite certain where his best position is on a rugby union field, with blind-side flanker, No 8 and inside-centre all mooted as possibilities.

But Farrell's Saracens team-mates talk enthusiastically about the impact he has made behind the scenes since joining the club and Robinson hopes to tap into that experience.

England have lost five consecutive Tests and face a daunting autumn programme, which starts on November 5 against New Zealand. They are in desperate need of some fresh impetus.

The 40-man senior squad is relatively short of new faces and Robinson will be looking towards Farrell and Wilkinson to help shake things up.

Wilkinson has not played for England in nearly three years, since his dropped goal in Sydney sealed victory at the 2003 World Cup.

But after overcoming neck, bicep , appendix, knee and groin problems, he is back in full training with Newcastle and will be ready for the start of the season. Robinson said: "I would like to welcome back Jonny Wilkinson. Everyone hopes that he has put his injuries behind him and is able to play regularly for Newcastle Falcons.

"I am also looking forward to working with Andy Farrell who was in last season's Elite Player Squad squad but suffered a succession of injuries.

"I am very excited about this new EPS which faces a challenging year ahead leading into the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

"These players will form the nucleus of selection for the series in the autumn and the Six Nations and they should be congratulated on being included."

Newcastle centre Mathew Tait also made it into the senior party while Robinson will also look excitedly on the 15-man senior academy squad who make up the remainder of EPS.

Their number include Leicester winger Tom Varn-dell, who started both Tests against Australia and might have expected to be included in the senior party, plus exciting youngsters like Gloucester trio Anthony Allen, Ryan Lamb and Olly Morgan.

Robinson said: "I am delighted to welcome some of the successful England Under-21s players to the Senior National Academy and look forward to seeing the likes of Ryan Lamb and Jordan Crane first hand at training.

"Tom Varndell had some great moments on the senior tour and I'm sure he will benefit from being part of the Senior National Academy."

But there was no place anywhere for Wasps winger Tom Voyce, the most notable absentee.

A prolific try-scorer in the Premier-ship, Voyce has struggled to make the step up to international rugby. He was dropped after enduring a torrid time in the summer's first Test defeat to Australia.

Robinson's insistence that "exclusion from these squads does not mean that the selection door to England is closed" will be a crumb of comfort.

Also left out are Gloucester lock Alex Brown, Leicester prop Graham Rowntree, Bath scrum-half Nick Walshe and veteran flanker Richard Hill who missed last season after undergoing major knee surgery.

Bath prop Matt Stevens was not considered after undergoing further shoulder surgery but Phil Vickery, who is returning from a third back operation, does get the call.

Robinson has yet to confirm his captain. Martin Corry led England last season before being rested for the summer tour of Australia when Sanderson took over the reins.

Lawrence Dallaglio's World Cup ambitions remain on track after he was included in the squad, as are those of veteran London Irish centre Mike Catt.

Dallaglio is a candidate for skipper as is Wilkinson, Robinson's first captain before the fly-half was injured.

After the New Zealand match England face Argentina before successive Tests against South Africa. The Six Nations Championship follows before an end-of-season tour to South Africa and World Cup warm-up Tests. n EDF Energy have replaced Powergen as title sponsors of the Anglo-Welsh Cup after striking a three-year deal with the Rugby Football Union and Premier Rugby.

The cross-border competition, which is contested by the 12 Premiership clubs and four Welsh regions, will be known as the EDF Energy Cup. The company will also sponsor the four English club tournaments - the National Trophy, Inter-mediate Cup, Junior Vase and the new Senior Vase.