England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has named a 42-man squad for next month’s five-match tour of South Africa.
Drawn mostly from the Senior and Saxons Elite Player Squads, nine Aviva Premiership clubs are represented for the three-Test series, with the party captained by Player of the Season, Harlequins’ Chris Robshaw.
Twenty-nine of the squad have been capped at full international level, a further eight have played for the Saxons, while there are four members of last season’s Under 20 IRB Junior World Championship squad – Saracens’ Owen Farrell (Land Rover Discovery of the Season), London Wasps Christian Wade, the second highest try scorer in the Aviva Premiership (nine), London Irish back Jonathan Joseph and London Wasps lock Joe Launchbury.
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Lancaster said: “Myself and Graham [Rowntree] rang the players yesterday and there is a real excitement about this squad. We have a massive challenge ahead of us but it is one that everybody involved, players, coaches and management is looking forward to.
“While certain players are not available because of inevitable injuries at this time of the season, we have been able to select the bulk of the squad from the RBS 6 Nations and the Saxons, while also taking with us four of the Under 20 team which reached last June’s Junior World Championship final and we see the return of two experienced internationals in Danny Care and James Haskell.”
Lancaster also said that Robshaw deserves the opportunity to continue as leader of the group, while the Barbarians game on Sunday, May 27 will allow him to look at further players who have missed selection for the tour.
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“Chris Robshaw was named player of the season on Tuesday night so congratulations to him and it is only right that he continues to captain the team, supported by a strong leadership group,” he said.
“We will obviously bring some additional players in for the Barbarians game which is another opportunity to look at a wider group who are pushing for selection. It will be great to be back in front of the Twickenham crowd who were so supportive during the Six Nations.”
A number of players were not considered due to injury or suspension: Chris Brooker (knee),Stuart Hooper (arm), Calum Clark (suspended), Tom Croft (neck), Louis Deacon (hamstring), Courtney Lawes (shin), Charlie Sharples (shoulder ), Joe Simpson (shoulder), Henry Thomas (knee), Rob Webber (shoulder), David Wilson (wrist), Tom Wood (toe), Nick Wood (chest).
England squad for South Africa
Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints)
Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
Carl Fearns (Bath Rugby)
Joe Gray (Harlequins)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Otago Highlanders)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)
Ben Morgan (Scarlets)
Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Robshaw (capt, Harlequins)
George Robson (Harlequins)
Matt Stevens (Saracens)
Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers)
Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Charlie Hodgson (Saracens)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
George Lowe (Harlequins)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
David Strettle (Saracens)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
Christian Wade (London Wasps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)