Lancaster names 11 uncapped players for South American tour


Stuart Lancaster has named eleven uncapped players in his England squad to tour Uruguay and Argentina this summer.

Captain Chris Robshaw, fresh from his Lions disappointment, is rested along with Toby Flood, Danny Care, Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and James Haskell.

In Robshaw’s absence Tom Wood will captain the touring party, which is also shorn of the ten players selected for the Lions tour of Australia.

Much of the excitement will centre around the uncapped quintet in the back division, with Christian Wade, Jonny May and Marland Yarde all selected on the wings and Kyle Eastmond and Joel Tompkins in the centre.

Freddie Burns looks set to take control of the 10 shirt where Billy Twelvetrees and Alex Goode will act as his emergency cover, though Eastmond can also do a turn there, Richard Wigglesworth has also appeared at fly half but will be travelling mainly as Lee Dickson’s understudy at scrum half.

Elsewhere in the backline Mike Brown and Ben Foden will both try to oust Alex Goode from the full back position while David Strettle will try to provide an experienced alternative to all of the new caps on the wing. Jonathan Joesph will also hope for a chance again at centre.

There are even more fresh faces in the forwards where six uncapped players have been selected. The inclusions of Billy Vunipola and Matt Kvesic in the back row will excitement, while Callum Clark is also selected and despite appearing in many squads is still yet to win a cap.

Ed Slater will hope to make his debut in the second row, much like Harlequins’ Rob Buchanan at hooker, prop Henry Thomas is the final uncapped player.

Along with Woods and the uncapped trio in the back row, the return of Ben Morgan and Tom Johnson to England duty after injury will also be a welcome bonus, and will present Lancaster with some tough selection decisions.

In the second row the young tyros that are Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes will travel alongside Slater and will be joined by Dave Attwood, finally back in the fold after his misdemeanours in the past.

Alex Corbisiero also returns from injury at prop, he is joined by Joe Marler, Paul Doran Jones and David Wilson as well as the uncapped Thomas.

Rob Buchanan is joined at hooker by David Paice and the fit again Rob Webber, who is one of just four players who are in neither the Elite Players Squad nor the Saxons squad, Attwood, Buchanan and Yarde are the others.

Speaking about the squad, Stuart Lancaster said:

“We’re really looking forward to this tour and we’ve selected a young and exciting side which I’m sure will do the country proud in a tough series of matches.”

“The key principles in selection were threefold: first and foremost to win the games but also to develop strength in depth and more options in certain positions, and to give one or two players a physical and mental break.”

“We feel we’ve got the balance right and have given places to a number of players who have shone in the Aviva Premiership this season, one or two who have been on the fringes for a while, and several players who have been involved over the last year or so. This is everyone’s chance to step up. “

On handing Tom Wood the captaincy, and the prospects of the likes of Robshaw who are not included but may interest the Lions, he said:

“Tom Wood will captain the side and I am sure he will do a fantastic job, as he has the respect of all the players and management and we are looking forward to other leaders developing in the absence of some senior players.”

“A few are being rested after a hard campaign but they will be considered by the British & Irish Lions should they be required.”

England’s first game is against the Barbarians at Twickenham on the 26th May, just a day after the Aviva Premiership final. As such, no players that featured in that match will be available for selection until the fixture on the 2nd June against a South American XV at Montevideo, Uruguay, before the two Tests against Argentina on the 8th and 15th June.

England Fixtures:

26th May – v Barbarians, Twickenham

2nd June – v South American XV, Montevideo, Uruguay

8th June – v Argentina, Salta, Argentina

15th June – v Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina

England Squad:

Forwards: Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Rob Buchanan (Harlequins), David Paice (London Irish), Rob Webber (Bath), Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), David Wilson (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bath), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northamtpon Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Cheifs), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, captain), Callum Clark (Northampton Saints), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Billy Vunipola (London Wasps).

Backs: Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Freddie Burns (Gloucester), David Strettle (Saracens), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Joel Tompkins (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Marland Yarde (London Irish), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Alex Goode (Saracens).

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