Danny Care returns as England squad for South Africa tour announced
Thursday 10 May 2012
England coach Stuart Lancaster has included 13 uncapped players in his 42-man squad for the five-match, three-Test summer tour of South Africa.
Chris Robshaw has been confirmed as captain of a squad that also features the return of experienced internationals Danny Care and James Haskell.
Care was excluded from England's RBS 6 Nations campaign on disciplinary grounds while Haskell was unavailable because he was playing in the southern hemisphere.
The inclusion of Leicester's Tom Youngs as one of four hookers is the most left-field selection, given he has never started a Premiership match in that position.
The converted centre has made 12 bench appearances for Leicester and will compete with first choice Dylan Hartley, Lee Mears and the uncapped Harlequin Joe Gray for the hooker's jersey.
Youngs will join his scrum-half brother Ben in the senior England squad for the first time and he is joined by Tigers team-mate Graham Kitchener as a fellow England newcomer.
The Wasps pair of wing Christian Wade and flanker Joe Launchbury have been rewarded for their excellent Premiership seasons in a struggling side with a first senior call-up.
Lancaster has drafted in Bath flanker Carl Fearns and Exeter loose forward Tom Johnson after losing Tom Croft and Tom Wood to injury and Callum Clark to suspension.
Despite England's back row selection issues, there is no return for Nick Easter or Toulon's Steffon Armitage, but Haskell is picked ahead of his return to Wasps from the Otago Highlanders next season.
Harlequins, who finished top of the regular season Premiership table and face Northampton at home in Saturday's semi-final, also provide lock George Robson and centre George Lowe.
Saracens full-back Alex Goode and London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph also win their first senior England call-ups
Care and Haskell are not the only returnees. Harlequins wing Ugo Monye, Worcester prop Matt Mullan and Leicester centre Anthony Allen are all back involved in the senior England squad.
Monye won his last England cap in the 2010 Six Nations, the same championship in which Mullan made his only Test appearance, off the bench against Italy.
Allen won his two England caps in 2006 when Andy Robinson was coach.
England have never embarked on a three-Test tour of South Africa before and they have two midweek matches against teams select XVs drawn from the domestic Currie Cup competition.
Lancaster said: "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.
"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.
"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.
"We are also taking with us four of the Under-20s team which reached last June's Junior World Championship final (Owen Farrell, Joseph, Launchbury and Wade) and we see the return of two experienced internationals in Danny Care and James Haskell."
Lancaster had axed Care from his Six Nations plans after the Harlequins scrum-half was charged, and subsequently convicted, of drink driving.
Care is currently on police bail following his arrest on suspicion of sexual assault - but Lancaster is confident he can trust the 24-year-old.
"The thinking behind Danny Care's selection was that in order to be an England player on the field you have to be able to lead yourself off the field," said the coach. "Danny needed to reassure me he could.
"I met Danny. I am pleased with the progress he has made and the maturity he is now showing off the field. He knows he is treading a very fine line but I trust him enough to have the confidence to take him.
"He is a player in form and playing at a good club who are in a big (Premiership) semi-final this weekend."
Haskell will arrive late on tour because of his Super Rugby commitments with the Otago Highlanders.
But in the absence of the injured Tom Wood and Tom Croft, Haskell will offer experience and physicality in the back row which England will need against the Springboks.
Haskell was one of England best players at the World Cup and he is returning to the Premiership next season with a move back to Wasps.
"I have never coached James. When I saw his performances in the World Cup and the Six Nations before then, he is clearly a very good player," Lancaster said.
"He is coming back to England and it is an opportunity, we have lost key men at blindside and I am looking forward to working with him."
England's 42-man squad for the summer tour of South Africa:
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).
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