- Stuart Lancaster discusses his 32-man squad to tour South America this June
- England Head Coach has named 11 uncapped and five aged 21 or under
Stuart Lancaster said England’s primary objective is to win Test matches in Argentina despite naming 11 uncapped players and five aged 21 or under in his 32-man group to travel to South America this June.
A number of established stars, including Chris Robshaw, Danny Care, Brad Barritt and Chris Ashton, have been rested by the England Head Coach, who feels they will benefit mentally and physically from a summer break.
Crucially, Lancaster, former RFU Head of Elite Player Development, also wants to find individuals who can challenge those established players and further enhance competition for places.
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Outlining at the squad announcement at Barnes RFC that “all players have something to prove every time they step on the pitch” and places are up for grabs, he said: “I want the rested players firing at the start of next season, it’s probably the last chance I have to give them a rest as next summer we’re off to New Zealand.
“It also offers up the opportunity to take some younger players in their position who can challenge them for when they get back.
“All the players wanted to go [to Argentina] but I said ‘I think it’s in your best interests’ and they accepted and trusted my decision. But we’ll select on form and fitness come November, it doesn’t matter if you’re a British and Irish Lion, you’ve been rested or you’ve been picked for Argentina, you’ve got to be playing well to be picked for England.”
The 11 potential Test debutants are forwards Rob Buchanan (Harlequins), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks) and Billy Vunipola (London Wasps), and backs Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Christian Wade (London Wasps) and Marland Yarde (London Irish).
Lancaster singled out Wade, who has scored eight tries in his last nine Premiership games, and May, who has bagged eight in 13 games this season, for special praise, citing the consistency they have added to obvious natural ability and searing pace.
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“The ability to play with intensity and understand that everything matters in the game is important and I think they’ve achieved that,” he said. “There are a lot less errors and a lot more x-factor, and when you’ve got x-factor in a team, without errors, you’ve got good players. We want to harness that potential and develop it.”
England will play three games on the tour, starting against a CONSUR XV, representing the South American nations, in Montevideo, Uruguay on June 2, and then Tests against Argentina in Salta (June 8) and Buenos Aires (June 15).
Two central figures are expected to be newly appointed captain Tom Wood and fly half Freddie Burns, the only recognised No.10 among those travelling.
Lancaster believes Burns, who made his only Test appearance off the bench in the record victory over New Zealand last December, will benefit from the confidence of knowing he will start the Test matches and urged him to grasp the opportunity.
Similarly, Lancaster is expecting “warrior” Wood to have a considerable influence on a touring party with an average age of 24 and boasting just seven caps per player.
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He added: “It’s fair to say there’s a good chance Freddie will start but equally I want to take Alex Goode along and see if we have the flexibility to have him covering 10.
"I’ve got confidence in him because he’s a quality player. Freddie’s got a great opportunity with Toby [Flood] rested and Owen [Farrell] with the Lions. It’s over to him really.
“Tom leads by example, he’s a warrior player, he’s a great leader and the players respect him. We need experience in that side to go to Argentina and win, which is the objective. We need those sorts of people in there and Tom will be important for us.”
England summer 2013 squad
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)
Rob Buchanan (Harlequins, uncapped)
Calum Clark (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish, 18 caps)
Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 9 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 20 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 10 caps)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 10 caps)
David Paice (London Irish, 6 caps)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
Billy Vunipola (London Wasps, uncapped)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 26 caps)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, captain, 18 caps)
Mike Brown (Harlequins, 16 caps)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints, 7 caps)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints, 30 caps)
Alex Goode (Saracens, 11 caps)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish, 4 caps)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
David Strettle (Saracens, 13 caps)
Joel Tomkins (Saracens, uncapped)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 4 caps)
Christian Wade (London Wasps, uncapped)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 12 caps)
Marland Yarde (London Irish, uncapped)