Rugby Union

Danny Cipriani makes England's initial squad for New Zealand tour

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Cipriani hasn't played for England since 2008 (©GettyImages)
Cipriani hasn't played for England since 2008 (©GettyImages).

Stuart Lancaster has picked 10 uncapped players in his initial 20-man squad for England’s tour of New Zealand next month.

Amongst those hoping to make their debut for their country are Chris Pennell from relegated Worcester Warriors, as well as Gloucester pair Dan Robson and Henry Trinder.

Joining the uncapped list is former New Zealand under-21 Lock Michael Paterson, and his Sale Sharks teammate Tommy Taylor.

Exeter quartet Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dave Ewers, Sam Hill and Henry Slade are also in the squad, looking to win their first cap, as England’s head coach avoided picking players from the English clubs who have to finish their seasons.

Saracens, Northampton Saints, Leicester Tigers and Harlequins all face off in the play-off semi-finals this weekend, whilst Bath are in the Amlin Challenge Cup final on the 23rd May.

As for London Wasps, they gave two games against Stade Français in a play-off for the chance to play in the newly-created European Rugby Champions Cup, which will replace the current Heineken Cup.

Yet, the biggest selection from Lancaster has been Danny Cipriani, who has been capped just seven times for England.

Since joining the Lancashire club at the start of this season, Cipriani has put in some impressive displays, collecting 143 points in 18 appearances, enough to earn himself a recall to the national side.

He will face a challenge trying to dislodge Owen Farrell away from the number ten shirt, whilst fighting with youngsters including George Ford and Freddie Burns, who was also in the 20-man squad, for that starting berth.

This initial squad is seen as training members, with as many as 30 players from the remaining six teams still in domestic and European competition could force their way into contention for the tour of New Zealand, with final squad announcement pencilled in for the 26th May.

The following day, the first group of players will fly to the southern Hemisphere for training, whilst the second group stay behind either to take part in the Aviva Premiership final or play against the Barbarians at Twickenham on the 1st June.

They will then travel to New Zealand the day after, with the first of three Tests with the All Blacks to take place on the 7th June at Eden Park in Auckland.

The second Test is in Dunedin the following week, before England face Super Rugby side Crusaders in a tour match on Tuesday 17th. The final Test match will be four days later in Hamilton, as England look to inflict New Zealand’s first defeat since they beat them in December 2012.

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Topics:
England Rugby
Danny Cipriani
Rugby Union
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