Borthwick to lead England on All Blacks tour

Steve Borthwick will captain England on their New Zealand tour next month.

Steve Borthwick will captain England on their New Zealand tour next month.

Bath lock Borthwick has been handed leadership duties in the absence of regular skipper Phil Vickery, who misses appointments with the All Blacks in Auckland and Christchurch due to a knee injury.

Borthwick, capped 37 times, has recent experience of the role after acting as captain for England’s RBS 6 Nations victory over Italy three months ago.

He takes charge of a 32-man squad – the first of Martin Johnson’s reign as England manager – that includes six uncapped players.

The newcomers are London Irish wing Topsy Ojo, Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care, Bristol prop Jason Hobson, Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley, Irish hooker David Paice and his club colleague, lock Nick Kennedy.

Vickery apart, other absentees from the Six Nations campaign include fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, who is absent through shoulder surgery, Wasps lock Simon Shaw and Bristol hooker Mark Regan.

But the major selection casualties appear to be Gloucester backs Iain Balshaw and Lesley Vainikolo.

Full-back Balshaw started all five of England’s Six Nations Tests, while former Bradford Bulls wing Vainikolo made his debut off the bench against Wales and then kept his place for the remaining four fixtures.

Wasps wing Paul Sackey, meanwhile, has been named in the squad despite suffering a knee injury during his club’s Guinness Premiership victory over Leeds Carnegie last weekend.

England squad for Test matches against New Zealand in Auckland on June 14 and Christchurch on June 21.

Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), P Sackey (Wasps), D Strettle (Harlequins), T Ojo (London Irish), M Tait (Newcastle), M Tindall (Gloucester), J Noon (Newcastle), T Flood (Newcastle), O Barkley (Bath), D Cipriani (Wasps), C Hodgson (Sale Sharks), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks), P Richards (London Irish), D Care (Harlequins).

Forwards: A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), T Payne (Wasps), M Stevens (Bath), J Hobson (Bristol), L Mears (Bath), D Hartley (Northampton), D Paice (London Irish), S Borthwick (Bath, capt), B Kay (Leicester), N Kennedy (London Irish), T Palmer (Wasps), T Croft (Leicester), J Haskell (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), M Lipman (Bath), T Rees (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins), L Narraway (Gloucester).

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