England draft in fresh faces for tour
May 10, 2012
Wasps flyer Christian Wade has been included in a 42-man squad for next month's tour of South Africa © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster has named a fresh-looking squad for next month's tour of South Africa with 13 uncapped players getting the nod.
Danny Care, James Haskell and Ugo Monye are all recalled for the daunting three-Test, five-match trip to South Africa while Leicester hooker Tom Youngs has received a surprise promotion to the elite squad.
Youngs, 25, has never started an Aviva Premiership match at hooker, with his experience in the position limited to just 12 appearances off the bench. But with Rob Webber and Chris Brooker injured, Youngs has been selected as one of four hookers.
Care gets a second chance after being excluded from the Six Nations on disciplinary grounds while Haskell was unavailable for the championship because he was playing club rugby in Japan. But with injuries and suspensions in the back-row, Lancaster has said that the tour offers Haskell the opportunity to "put a marker down".
Youngs made his only Premiership starts as a hard-hitting centre before being converted to hooker by the current South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer, during his brief time in charge at Leicester. After two years learning his new craft at Nottingham, Youngs returned to Leicester where he has been George Chuter's regular understudy this season.
Lancaster admitted that Youngs' inclusion may raise some eyebrows but he is backnig the hooker to make an impact in the mid-week matches. "Tom Youngs has huge potential as a scrummaging hooker and as a ball carrying hooker," Lancaster told RFU TV. "He still has areas of his game to work on and we have Simon Hardy coming out with us to help him work on that aspect but he is trusted by Leicester to play in the semi-final and will definitely get some game time in the mid-week games."
In addition to Youngs, the Wasps pair of wing Christian Wade and lock Joe Launchbury have been rewarded for their breakthrough seasons in the top flight with selection. Bath flanker Carl Fearns and Exeter's Tom Johnson will provide back-row options following tour-ending injuries to Tom Croft and Tom Wood, while there are doubts over the fitness of Ben Morgan.
Lancaster revealed that Sir Ian McGeechan's high praise of Fearns helped aid his inclusion in the 42-man party while Johnson has impressed the England coach over the course of the season with his ball-carrying ability and labelled him a "machine".
Other uncapped players in the squad include London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph, Tigers lock Graham Kitchener and Saracens fullback Alex Goode. And it is Goode's versatility that Lancaster will use to utilise. "He offers something different," Lancaster said. "I've coached him many times in the Saxons and can play at both fullback and at fly-half."
There is a sizeable Harlequins contingent with captain Chris Robshaw and Care joined by Jordan Turner-Hall, Mike Brown and the uncapped quartet of centre George Lowe, lock George Robson, hooker Joe Gray and prop Joe Marler.
Lancaster said of Robshaw: "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."
England play the Barbarians at Twickenham before embarking on their first ever three-Test series in South Africa. The midweek fixtures will be against teams comprised of South Africa's best Currie Cup players.
Forwards: M Botha (Saracens), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), A Corbisiero (London Irish), P Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints), P Dowson (Northampton Saints), C Fearns (Bath Rugby), J Gray (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (Otago Highlanders), T Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), G Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), J Launchbury (London Wasps), J Marler (Harlequins), L Mears (Bath Rugby), B Morgan (Scarlets), M Mullan (Worcester Warriors), T Palmer (Stade Francais), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), C Robshaw (capt, Harlequins), G Robson (Harlequins), M Stevens (Saracens), T Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), T Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Backs: A Allen (Leicester Tigers), C Ashton (Northampton Saints), B Barritt (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton Saints), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Foden (Northampton Saints), A Goode (Saracens), C Hodgson (Saracens), J Joseph (London Irish), G Lowe (Harlequins), U Monye (Harlequins), D Strettle (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), C Wade (London Wasps), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Players 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)
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