Eddie Jones has included flyhalf Danny Cipriani and loose forward Brad Shields in England’s 34-man squad for their three-Test series against the Springboks in June.
Cipriani, whose last Test was the World Cup warm-up against France in Paris in 2015, returns to England’s set-up after a three-year international hiatus following his excellent form for Wasps this season.
Shields, who is still playing for the Hurricanes, has been fast-tracked into the squad and looks set to make his debut against the Boks.
Owen Farrell has been appointed captain of the squad that includes seven uncapped players in the form of Ben Earl (Saracens), Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Robson (Wasps), Brad Shields (Hurricanes), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks) and Jack Willis (Wasps).
As expected, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, George Kruis, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Nathan Hughes and Sam Underhill are all unavailable due to injury; while quartet Danny Care, Dan Cole, James Haskell and Richard Wigglesworth have been rested for the tour.
Jones, whose team is on a three-match losing streak, says this will be England’s most exciting challenge since 2016.
‘We have an opportunity to create some history next month and win the Test series, something no England side has done before. There are a number of players out injured or not selected so it provides a big opportunity for others,’ he explained.
‘With three weeks to prepare for the first Test in Johannesburg, I am expecting players to come into camp with the right mindset and we will be looking for them to break the mould in terms of being more assertive and on the front foot in everything we do.
‘We will need to be physically aggressive and tactically smart against the Springboks, who we know will be combative and reinvigorated by their new coaching set-up.’
Backs – Mike Brown, Elliot Daly, Nathan Earle, Jonny May, Denny Solomona, Danny Cipriani, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Alex Lozowski, Cameron Redpath, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Ben Spencer, Ben Te’o, Ben Youngs.
Forwards – Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Jonny Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Chris Robshaw, Brad Shields, Sam Simmonds, Billy Vunipola, Jack Willis, Mark Wilson, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams.
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images