Rugby Union

Wood set to skipper England ahead of South American tour

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Northampton forward Tom Wood has been handed the England captaincy for the upcoming game against the Barbarians, and the three-match tour of Uruguay and Argentina.

The decision to hand Wood the armband has come after coach Stuart Lancaster decided to rest Chris Robshaw following the flanker’s British Lions omission.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Lancaster said: “Tom Wood will captain the side and I am sure he will do a fantastic job.

“He has the respect of all the players and management and we are looking forward to other leaders developing in the absence of some senior players.”

Eleven players are in line to make their first team debuts, including Wasps duo Billy Vunipola and Christian Wade. Kyle Eastmond, who recently converted from rugby league, has also been included.

Among the absentees are England regulars Danny Care, Toby Flood, Brad Barritt and Chris Ashton who have all been rested by Lancaster as he plans to take a closer look at some of the new blood within the set-up.

“We feel we've got the balance right and have given places to a number of players who have shone in the Aviva Premiership this season, one or two who have been on the fringes for a while, and several players who have been involved over the last year or so. This is everyone's chance to step up,” added Lancaster.

"A few are being rested after a hard campaign but they will, of course, be considered by the British and Irish Lions should they be required."

England will play the Barbarians on 26th May at Twickenham before they travel to South America, where they will kick-off their tour on 2nd June against a CONSUR XV, who represent all of the South American nations.

The team then fly to Argentina for two games against the Pumas on 8th June and 15th June.

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