England’s Youthful Rugby Roster Primed for Japan and New Zealand Tour

England’s new head coach Steve Borthwick has called up seven uncapped players for the upcoming summer tour to Japan and New Zealand, signaling a new era of youth and potential in the national squad.

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BBC Rugby Union: England Announce Squad for Summer Tour to Japan and New Zealand

Published: May 24, 2023

In his first training squad announcement as England’s new head coach, Steve Borthwick has called up seven uncapped players for the upcoming summer tour to Japan and New Zealand. The list includes Harlequins’ Fin Baxter, Exeter duo Greg Fisilau and Rusi Tuima, and Newcastle’s Guy Pepper.

England’s Guinness Six Nations campaign concluded with a third-place finish following a narrow defeat to France in March. The squad will now regroup at Pennyhill Park, with the initial training group consisting of players whose club seasons ended with the final round of the Gallagher Premiership last weekend.

Veteran props Dan Cole and Joe Marler, who were not involved in the semi-final clubs, will join the squad during the second week of preparations starting June 4. Five uncapped forwards, including the four mentioned above and Bristol’s Gabriel Oghre, will participate in the first training camp, along with two uncapped backs, Gloucester’s Charlie Atkinson and Harlequins’ Luke Northmore.

“However, their inclusion in the initial training squad does not guarantee their spot on the tour, as the expectation is that some players may be released before the final squad is confirmed.”

The 19-player training group represents six different Gallagher Premiership clubs, with Harlequins and Leicester providing five players each, four from Leicester, and three from Bristol. Newcastle and Gloucester each have one player included.

England will open their summer series against Japan in Tokyo on June 22 before embarking on a two-Test tour of New Zealand, facing the All Blacks in Dunedin on July 6 and Auckland on July 13. The squad announcement comes as England prop Ellis Genge and lock Ollie Chessum have been ruled out of the tour due to injuries.

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