TOM Wood will captain a youthful England squad featuring 11 uncapped players for the fixture against the Barbarians and the summer tour of Uruguay and Argentina, head coach Stuart Lancaster has announced.
The Northampton flanker will take over with Lancaster having decided to rest a handful of front-line players, including captain Chris Robshaw.
Chris Ashton, Danny Care, Toby Flood and Brad Barritt have also been given the chance to recharge their batteries.
Lancaster is taking wing trio Christian Wade, Jonny May and Marland Yarde as well as Bath’s Kyle Eastmond and Saracens’ Joel Tomkins as midfield options. Loose forwards Calum Clark and Billy Vunipola will get a taste of Test rugby while lock Ed Slater, flanker Matt Kvesic, prop Henry Thomas and hooker Rob Buchanan have been rewarded for fine club seasons.
There are recalls for Bath lock Dave Attwood and hooker Rob Webber, Northampton prop Paul Doran-Jones, Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth and Worcester flanker Tom Johnson. Gloucester’s Freddie Burns is first-choice No 10, with Alex Goode his back-up, while Lee Dickson and Wigglesworth will compete for the scrum-half jersey.
Lancaster said: “We have given places to players who have shone in the Aviva Premiership, one or two who have been on the fringes for a while and several who have been involved over the last year or so. This is everyone’s chance to step up.”
To play the Barbarians and for the tour of Uruguay and Argentina:
Forwards: D Attwood (Bath), R Buchanan (Harlequins), C Clark (Northampton), A Corbisiero (London Irish), P Doran-Jones (Northampton), T Johnson (Exeter), M Kvesic (Worcester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), B Morgan (Gloucester), D Paice (London Irish), E Slater (Leicester), H Thomas (Sale Sharks), B Vunipola (Wasps), R Webber (Bath), D Wilson (Bath), T Wood (Northampton, capt).
Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), F Burns (Gloucester), L Dickson (Northampton), K Eastmond (Bath), B Foden (Northampton), A Goode (Saracens), J Joseph (London Irish), J May (Gloucester), D Strettle (Saracens), J Tomkins (Saracens) B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), C Wade (Wasps), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), M Yarde (London Irish).