England coach Lancaster backs rookies for summer tour of South Africa
22:14 GMT, 23 April 2012
Stuart Lancaster is preparing to add more Test novices to his expanded England squad for the gruelling summer tour of South Africa.
The head coach is expected to take 40 players on the trip in June which will feature three Tests against the Springboks and two midweek games.
While the recruitment of additional coaches has been Lancaster’s priority following Andy Farrell’s decision to reject a place in the England management, he has also been finalising plans to introduce a further tranche of young players, as he did for the Six Nations.
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News that Northampton flanker Tom Wood will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury opens up another vacancy in the senior squad, which is likely to include about a dozen newcomers.
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With another Saints flanker, Calum Clark, serving a long-term ban, plus injury doubts over Courtney Lawes and Louis Deacon, the English contingent in the Aviva Premiership will go into the final games of the regular season on May 5 with one last chance to make a positive impression.
In the Six Nations, Owen Farrell of Saracens was the talisman for a new generation of England players who emerged and performed admirably.
Several rising prospects are under consideration, including London Irish backs Tom Homer and Jonathan Joseph, Wasps lock Joe Launchbury, Sale prop Henry Thomas and full back Rob Miller, and Leicester’s IRB Young Player of the Year, fly-half George Ford.
Lancaster’s squad will be announced on May 10.
* Australia lock Dean Mumm is to join Exeter from New South Wales Waratahs.