Lancaster picks inexperienced squad for South Africa tour

Stuart Lancaster
Stuart Lancaster
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Stuart Lancaster has stayed true to the bold selections that were the hallmark of his interim tenure by naming 13 uncapped players for his first squad as England’s full-time head coach.

Chris Robshaw will continue as captain of a 42-man squad for the five-match tour of South Africa next month.

As well as the returning Danny Care and James Haskell, Lancaster will give a host of untried players a chance, with the most radical selection being that of Leicester’s Tom Youngs.

Youngs has been included as one of four hookers, but 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.

Pocklington-born Rob Webber had been in a strong position having forced his way into the Six Nations squad, but injury has denied him the chance to build on his three substitute appearances.

Youngs – brother of scrum-half Ben – 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 former Leeds player Callum Clark to suspension.

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

Harlequins wing Ugo Monye, Worcester prop Matt Mullan and Leicester centre Anthony Allen are all back involved in the squad.

England have never embarked on a three-Test tour of South Africa before and they also have two midweek matches against 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.

“It is only right that Chris Robshaw continues to captain the team, supported by a strong leadership group.

“While certain players are not available because of injuries, we have been able to select the bulk of the squad from the Six 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).”

England– Forwards: M Botha (Saracens), D Cole (Leicester), A Corbisiero (London Irish), P Doran-Jones (Northampton), P Dowson (Northampton), C Fearns (Bath), J Gray (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), J Haskell (Otago), T Johnson (Exeter), G Kitchener (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), J Marler (Harlequins), L Mears (Bath), B Morgan (Scarlets), M Mullan (Worcester), T Palmer (Stade Francais), G Parling (Leicester), C Robshaw (Harlequins), G Robson (Harlequins), M Stevens (Saracens), T Waldrom (Leicester), T Youngs (Leicester).

Backs: A Allen (Leicester), C Ashton (Northampton), B Barritt (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester), B Foden (Northampton), A Goode (Saracens), C Hodgson (Saracens), J Joseph (London Irish), G Lowe (Harlequins), U Monye (Harlequins), D Strettle (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), C Wade (Wasps), Ben Youngs (Leicester).