Danny Cipriani included in England squad for New Zealand tour next month
Danny Cipriani has been named in the England squad to tour New Zealand next month.
Last Updated: 26/05/14 3:37pm
Cipriani has not played for England since 2008 but has been recalled by head coach Stuart Lancaster into the squad of 30 players who fly to Auckland on Tuesday for the four-match tour.
Lancaster has selected seven uncapped players in the initial squad to take on the All Blacks including Worcester full-back Chris Pennell, son of former England cricketer Graham Dilley.
They will be available for the First Test at Eden Park on Saturday, June 7.
A further group will leave on Monday, June 2, following Saturday's Aviva Premiership final between Saracens and Northampton Saints, and the England XV v Barbarians match at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.
The second group of players will be named on the morning of Monday, June 2, following an assessment of both games.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We are excited about the squad we are taking to New Zealand and, while there continues to be challenges in selection, we will be well and truly ready for the First Test.
"It has a been good few days training and great to be able to work with a larger group of players in the lead up to the Barbarians game and the tour.
"With the Barbarians game and the Aviva Premiership final to come we will make our final selection once we know the availability of all players. This group will fly out on the Monday following the Barbarians game.
"As is often the case there are some players unavailable through injury and it is a shame that recently both George Ford (Bath) and Anthony Allen (Leicester) have had to withdraw due to shoulder and knee injuries sustained towards the end of the season.
"Anthony Watson (Bath) is being treated for a hamstring injury and will continue his recovery in England before a final decision is made on whether he will join us in New Zealand on the Monday flight post Aviva final and Barbarians game."
Lancaster also kept the long-term door ajar for Steffon Armitage. The back rower with French side Toulon has been a victim of England's policy of not picking overseas-based players.
But Armitage has been in outstanding form for Toulon, who retained the Heineken Cup by beating Saracens 23-6 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Questioned about Armitage and the overseas policy, Lancaster said: "I agree with the rule. I think it's important from an English club point of view and the national team to get access to players when you need them. I think it's important for our best players to play in England.
"I look at the situation in New Zealand, who have a very similar system, in fact, more rigid really, where there is no flexibility, and it's not done them any harm over the last few years.
"It's a rule I support as national coach. That said there is exceptional circumstances and who's to say this time next year if he's still playing as well, the door might be open."
The full squad flying to New Zealand on Tuesday is:
Forwards - Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle), Henry Thomas (Sale), David Wilson (Bath), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Dave Ward (Harlequins), Rob Webber (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bath), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Ed Slater (Leicester), James Haskell (Wasps), Tom Johnson (Exeter), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins);
Backs - Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Freddie Burns (Gloucester), Danny Cipriani (Sale), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester), Henry Trinder (Gloucester), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester), Chris Pennell (Worcester), Marland Yarde (London Irish).