- Eight uncapped players in Lancaster’s First Test squad
- Further tourists to be added after Premiership final and Baa Baas match
Photo: Getty Images
Stuart Lancaster has named eight uncapped players in his initial 31-man squad for the three-Test, four-game tour to New Zealand this June.
Worcester Warriors full back Chris Pennell and three new hookers – Harlequins duo Dave Ward and Joe Gray and Exeter Chiefs’ Luke Cowan Dickie – are among the players who will be available for the first Test against the All Blacks in Auckland on June 7.
Newcastle Falcons tight-head prop Kieran Brookes, Leicester Tigers lock Ed Slater and Gloucester Rugby centre Henry Trinder complete new faces, with Sale Sharks fly half Danny Cipriani in line for a first appearance for England since 2008.
Finally, loose-head prop Nathan Catt has been added to the party in light of the knee complaint Mako Vunipola picked up during Saturday's Heineken Cup final. Leicester Tigers youngster Fraser Balmain takes his place in the squad to face the Barbarians.
Hooker Rob Webber and centre Billy Twelvetrees have made sufficient progress with their injuries to join the first flight to New Zealand, which departs tomorrow, Tuesday, May 27. However, George Ford and Anthony Allen will not tour due to shoulder and knee injuries respectively.
Further players will fly out on Monday, June 2 following the Aviva Premiership final between Saracens and Northampton Saints (May 31) and the England XV v Barbarians match at Twickenham Stadium (June 1). These players will be named on the morning of Monday, June 2 (BST) following an assessment of both games.
Photo: Getty Images
Bath Rugby wing/full back Anthony Watson, who has a hamstring strain, remains in contention for the tour and a decision will be on his fitness on Monday.
Lancaster admits there have been logistical challenges in naming his squad on this occasion but is adamant his team will be “well and truly ready” for the first Test on June 7.
“We are excited about the squad we are taking to New Zealand and, while there continues to be challenges in selection, we will be well and truly ready for the First Test,” said the England Head Coach. “It has a been good few days training and great to be able to work with a larger group of players in the lead up to the Barbarians game and the tour.
“With the Barbarians game and the Aviva Premiership final to come we will make our final selection once we know the availability of all players. This group will fly out on the Monday following the Barbarians game.
“As is often the case, there are some players unavailable through injury and it is a shame that recently both George Ford and Anthony Allen have had to withdraw due to shoulder and knee injuries sustained towards the end of the season.
“Anthony Watson is being treated for a hamstring injury and will continue his recovery in England before a final decision is made on whether he will join us in New Zealand on the Monday flight post Aviva final and Barbarians game.
“In light of Mako Vunipola’s ongoing treatment for a knee injury ahead of the Aviva Premiership final and Joe Marler suffering a slight hip strain we have decided to take Nathan out with us now to ensure that he is up to speed with our systems and structures in the lead up to next week."
England squad flying on May 27 (31)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Joe Gray (Harlequins)
Dave Ward (Harlequins)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
James Haskell (London Wasps)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Marland Yarde (London Irish)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors)
New Zealand tour fixtures
(live on SkySports HD, all games 1935 NZST/0835 BST)
Saturday, June 7: First Test – Eden Park, Auckland
Saturday, June 14: Second Test – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Tuesday, June 17: Crusaders – AMI (Addington) Stadium, Christchurch
Saturday, June 21: Third Test – Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
England squad for Barbarians game (24)
Fraser Balmain (Leicester Tigers)
Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)
Will Collier (Harlequins)
Kyle Sinkler (Harlequins)
Rob Buchanan (Harlequins)
Tommy Taylor (Sale Sharks)
Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)
Michael Paterson (Sale Sharks)
Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)
Jamie Gibson (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Wallace (Harlequins)
Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby)
Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby)
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)
Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
Rob Miller (Sale Sharks)
England XV v Barbarians
Sunday, June 1: Twickenham Stadium, 3pm (live on SkySports HD)