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We’re now only days away from what promises to be a very exciting and important England tour of New Zealand, which includes three Tests against the ‘All Blacks’ and a clash with Super Rugby side Crusaders.

A long and gruelling season of Premiership rugby has taken it’s toll with a number of key players unavailable for selection due to injury, forcing Lancaster and his management team to rethink their squad, selecting 7 uncapped players such as Chris Pennell, Alex Waller, Anthony Watson and Luke Cowan-Dickie giving them an excellent opportunity to push for a place in the Elite squad. There are also recalls for Chris Ashton and Danni Cipriani who have both had and outstanding season for their clubs, peaking at just the right time.

After Monday’s announcement of a further 16 players boosting the squad to 47 players, Lancaster is adamant that everyone will have a chance to impress:

“It is great to be able to work with a wider group and we feel that the younger players will really benefit from the experience of coming to New Zealand, understanding the culture and challenging themselves in this the most competitive of environments.”

Matches against New Zealand are never easy, however, with the wealth of talent England currently have to choose from and with players keen to cement a place in the England squad ahead of next year’s World Cup on home soil, these matches will most definitely keep us all on the edge of our seats!

England Squad:

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Chris Pennell (Worcester), Jonny May (Gloucester), Marland Yarde (London Irish), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Henry Trinder (Gloucester), Freddie Burns (Gloucester), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Dave Ward (Harlequins), Rob Webber (Bath), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (London Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle), David Wilson (Bath), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Dave Attwood (Bath), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Ed Slater (Leicester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), James Haskell (London Wasps), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens)Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Alex Goode (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Alex Waller (Northampton Saints), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

Tour Fixtures:

Saturday 7th June 2014:       1st Test v New Zealand – Eden Park, Auckland

Saturday 14th June 2014:     2ndTest v New Zealand – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Tuesday 17th June 2014:      Crusaders – AMI (Addington) Stadium, Christchurch

Saturday 21st June 2014:      3rd Test v New Zealand – Waikato Stadium, Hamilton