England wing Christian Wade believes that this summer's tour of New Zealand will provide a huge test for Stuart Lancaster's evolving side ahead of next year's World Cup.
The tour squad - bar players from Premiership finalists Saracens and Northampton - was announced on Monday, and Wade - speaking exclusively to GiveMeSport - is under no illusions of the difficult task ahead for England but thinks that the series can be used as a benchmark for progress.
"The names just keeping on coming. Across the board, it's going to be a massive test for us and I think it's the test that we need leading into the Rugby World Cup next year," said the Wasps star.
"I think we can probably use it as a benchmark to see where we are at and how much work we need to put in leading up to the World Cup."
Sadly for Wade, he will not be one of the players named in the final travelling party due to a ligament injury that saw sidelined him for much of the 2013/14 domestic season.
Irrespective of his own absence, the 23-year-old - who has won five caps for his England in his senior career to date - knows that his teammates will be looking forward to the challenge that will greet them against arguably the most formidable lineup in world rugby.
"It's going to be tough for the boys, I can't really say how well we are going to do but I think the boys will be looking forward to it and looking forward to the challenge ahead. And so will the coaching staff as well."
England's first test match against the All Blacks is at Eden Park on June 7, with the second coming in Dunedin a week later.
The tour moves on to Christchurch on June 17, with the final test taking place in Hamilton.
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