- England to play first five match summer tour for 10 years
- Two tests against Australia head the bill for Martin Johnson’s side
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England will play five matches in Australia and New Zealand on their summer tour, which takes place in June this year.
Martin Johnson’s side will play their first five match summer tour since South Africa 10 years ago against Australia, the Australian Barbarians and the New Zealand Maori .
The Senior England Elite Player Squad will be supplemented by some England Saxons players and will play two Test matches against Australia and three midweek games, culminating with the match against the New Zealand Maori as part of their centenary celebrations.
The 44-man squad’s tour schedule will be: the Australian Barbarians on June 8 in Perth at the Members Equity Bank Stadium; the First Test with Australia in Perth on June 12; the Australian Barbarians on June 15 at the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford; the Second Test with Australia in Sydney on June 19; and the New Zealand Maori on June 23 at McLean Park in Napier.
England Team Manager Martin Johnson said: "The tour presents all the players and coaches with a great opportunity to test themselves against some excellent teams. All five matches will be very tough and give us the opportunity to look at some players who may not have had the opportunity to play on this tour if it had been restricted to two test matches. The games will be great occasions and to play the New Zealand Maori in their centenary year is a huge honour."
RFU Elite Rugby Director Rob Andrew MBE said: "I'd like to thank the Australia and New Zealand Unions for helping us to set up this tour and Premier Rugby and the RPA (Rugby Players Association) for their on-going support for the England representative teams as part of the eight-year agreement.
"It will give England squad members an excellent opportunity of experiencing a full tour before they potentially get selected for a Rugby World Cup.
"The squad will include players that would otherwise have travelled to Denver for the Churchill Cup with the England Saxons in May and June and it also gives a number of players the opportunity to step up into the Saxons squad via the Elite Player Pathway and they will benefit from the experience."