Tom Youngs will not travel to New Zealand to tour the southern hemisphere country with England in June.

The 27-year-old hooker will stay behind to care for his wife, who has fallen ill.

Youngs has played 17 times for England, whilst also picking up three caps for the British and Irish Lions from their tour of Australia in 2013.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster told BBC Sport: “Our thoughts are with Tom and Tiffany at this time.

“It’s entirely right he stays at home to support her and daughter Maisie.”


However, Youngs is not the only man Lancaster will be missing from the first test against the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland on June 7.

Youngs’ Leicester Tigers team-mates Tom Croft and Dan Cole will miss the whole tour through injury, along with Northampton’s Alex Corbisiero, as well as, backs Jack Nowell and Christian Wade.

Saracens centre Joel Tomkins is also out of the New Zealand tour with a back injury, whilst Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees will miss the first test with ankle problems, but a doubt for the entire trip.

Yet, Lancaster’s problems do not end there.

With the Aviva Premiership not going to be finished until the play-off final on May 31, it is too close to the first match against New Zealand for them to be picked.

So with the finalists yet to be confirmed, Lancaster is in the dark over who he can choose for the game in Auckland.

Four players definitely available for that game are London Irish winger Marland Yarde, Joe Launchbury from Wasps, as well as, Gloucester pair Jonny May and Ben Morgan.

With Saracens favourites to retain their Premiership crown, players including Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Alex Goode, Owen Farrell and the Vunipola brothers, Mako and Billy, will all be likely to feature in the Twickenham.

However, Lancaster will at least know of some players that will be available after the final round of games this weekend.

Harlequins need to defeat Bath this weekend to leapfrog them in the table and reach the play-offs.

If this turn of events occurs, Lancaster will certainly have a fly-half available in the form of George Ford. He will also have Dave Attwood, uncapped Anthony Watson and possibly hooker Rob Webber, who is currently struggling with a knee injury.

Yet, if Bath manage to keep hold of their fourth spot, Quins will be able to release Joe Marler, captain Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and full-back Mike Brown for international duty.

Following the semi-finals, which take place on the 16th and 17th May, Lancaster will be able to form some idea of his line-up for the first test at Eden Park.

Yet, a weakened side in that game will leave a mere impossible task for England, who haven’t won a series in Australasia since 2003.

The following week, England will fly south to Dunedin for the second test, before travelling to Christchurch for a midweek match against Super Rugby side Crusaders.

The last stop on the tour is to the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, where England will face New Zealand in the third and final test match on the 21st June.

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Topics:
#Tom Youngs
#Owen Farrell
#Aviva Premiership
#England Rugby
#Harlequins
#Bath
#Saracens
#Rugby Union
#New Zeland Rugby