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Borthwick announces squad for Japan-All Blacks series, six debutants named, Ford sidelined

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11th June, 2024
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Following a bronze-placed finish in the 2024 Six Nations, Steve Borthwick has made several changes to his national squad – announced for their upcoming three match tour of Japan and New Zealand.

Steve Borthwick has included six uncapped players in his 36-man squad, made up of 20 forwards and 16 backs, will depart for Tokyo on Wednesday ahead of their clash with Eddie Jones’ Brave Blossoms on June 22nd.

The big omission for the England coach is the loss of talented flyhalf George Ford, who will miss the tour due to injury.

Borthwick does have several options under his belt, with Marcus Smith the likely first choice and fullback George Furbank also able to cover the position.

Additionally, he’ll also be able to turn to Harlequins’ Fin Baxter, who is one of six uncapped players named the squad as an option.

Baxter will be joined by Gabriel Oghre (Bristol Bears), Joe Carpenter (Sale Sharks) Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks), Luke Northmore (Harlequins) and Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints) — the Premiership’s top scorer this season.

Sleightholme looms as one of the best weapons for the England side, with premiership champions Northampton seeing seven players make the squad, mostly in the exciting backline.

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Finally, Jamie George will retain the captaincy after the 2024 Six Nations campaign – an endorsement of his rising influence under the Borthwick-led program. Flanker Tom Curry is also a notable inclusion, fresh off a hip injury, with his brother Ben also included in the squad.

“The summer series presents a valuable opportunity for the continued development of this squad and is a demanding challenge to conclude the season,” said Borthwick.

“With the changes in climate, playing conditions, and contrasting styles of rugby from the two opponents we face, we will be challenged on and off the field.

“Historically New Zealand is not a place England have had much success, but we are determined to change that. The players know that they will need to be mentally strong and tactically smart if we are to get the result we want.”

Steve Borthwick, Head coach of England, and Jamie George, Captain of England, look on during a training session at Camiral Golf & Wellness on January 29, 2024 in Girona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images )

Following their match against Japan, England will head to New Zealand to play the All Blacks in Dunedin on 6 July and at Eden Park on 13 July.

FULL SQUAD

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Forwards: Fin Baxter*, Dan Cole, Alex Coles, Chandler Cunningham-South, Ben Curry, Tom Curry, Theo Dan, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Jamie George (C), Joe Heyes, Maro Itoje, Joe Marler, George Martin, Gabriel Oghre*, Bevan Rodd, Ethan Roots, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill

Backs: Joe Carpenter*, Fraser Dingwall, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Ollie Lawrence, Alex Mitchell, Luke Northmore*, Harry Randall, Tom Roebuck*, Henry Slade, Ollie Sleightholme*, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Ben Spencer, Freddie Steward.

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