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Curry gets England nod ahead of NZ trip

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Steve Borthwick has ramped up preparations for England’s tour to Japan and New Zealand by unveiling a 33-strong squad.

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The squad includes a recall for the fit-again Tom Curry and call-ups for uncapped duo Joe Carpenter and Tom Roebuck – for a four-day camp at Pennyhill Park from this Tuesday.

The English boss last week gathered 19 players for a training camp where selection was limited to players from the six clubs not involved in last weekend’s Premiership semifinals at Franklin’s Gardens and The Rec.

Eighteen of those players have now been asked back for the week two camp (rookie Guy Pepper of Newcastle is the sole absentee from week one), while seven players from Sale and six from Saracens, the two clubs that lost out in the semifinals, are all included.

The seven Sale inclusions consist of three forwards, the Curry twins Tom and Ben and prop Bevan Rodd, and four backs, rookie pair Carpenter and Roebuck along with George Ford and Raffi Quirke.

The naming of Tom Curry especially piques the interest as he only played his first match last Saturday since helping England to their third-place World Cup finish following hip surgery.

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A half-dozen Saracens players – all forwards – were also named; Theo Dan, Ben Earl, skipper Jamie George, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje and Tom Willis. Utility back Elliot Daly, a Borthwick selection favourite since taking over from Eddie Jones, was excluded as he won’t be touring due to the upcoming birth of his first child.

As was advised on May 26, props Dan Cole and Joe Marler were included for week two after they were given last week off. It means that this week’s 33 includes eight uncapped players and consists of players from seven clubs – seven Sale, six Saracens and Harlequins, five Exeter and Leicester, three Bristol, and one Gloucester.

The official tour squad will be confirmed by Borthwick next Monday, June 10, once players from Bath and Northampton, the Premiership finalists, become available to him following Saturday’s Final at Twickenham.

“Steve Borthwick has named a 33-player training squad to continue preparations for the forthcoming series against Japan and New Zealand,” said a statement.

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“The squad – which does not include players involved in the Premiership Final – will assemble at the England Rugby Performance Centre at Pennyhill Park on Tuesday for a four-day training camp.

“England’s series begins on Saturday, June 22, with a Test match against Japan in Tokyo before embarking on a two-Test tour of New Zealand in July.”

England training squad:

Forwards: Fin Baxter (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Theo Dan (Saracens), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Ben Earl (Saracens), Greg Fisilau (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), George Martin (Leicester Tigers). Gabriel Oghre (Bristol Bears), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs), Rusi Tuima (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Willis (Saracens).

Backs: Charlie Atkinson (Gloucester), Joe Carpenter (Sale Sharks), Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs), George Ford (Sale Sharks), Max Malins (Bristol Bears), Luke Northmore (Harlequins), Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks), Harry Randall (Bristol Bears), Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers).

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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