English Rugby
Tom Wood to captain England against Pumas
ESPN Staff
May 8, 2013
England coach Stuart Lancaster is looking at other options

Stuart Lancaster has confirmed Tom Wood will lead a youthful team to Argentina in June with the England coach opting to rest a host of his usual first choice players.

Chris Robshaw, who skippered England through the 2012 and 2013 Six Nations, is rested and does not travel to Argentina and neither do Chris Ashton, Danny Care, Brad Barritt or Toby Flood. In their place, Lancaster has opted to give youth a chance with the 32-man England squad including 11 players who are yet to make their Test bow.

And Lancaster is adamant that those rested will still be in with a shout of making the Lions tour if they are called upon. Lancaster said: "Tom Wood will captain the side and I am sure he will do a fantastic job, as he has the respect of all the players and management and we are looking forward to other leaders developing in the absence of some senior players.

"A few are being rested after a hard campaign but they will, of course, be considered by the British & Irish Lions should they be required."

England's youngsters will have to hit the ground running

  • Regardless of those left out by Stuart Lancaster, this is an exciting squad and one that will be competitive. There will be a host of players looking to make amends for their 30-3 drubbing at the hands of Wales while Ben Morgan will hope to make some noise after missing much of the Six Nations due to injury.
  • And then there are the uncapped players. The likes of May, Eastmond, Wade and Yarde will have the faithful on their feet and will provide a spark that England have missed in the past. They could yet form the crux of the squad for the 2015 World Cup while the promising youngsters Thomas and Buchanan have a huge future ahead of them.
  • Tom Wood is an inspired choice as captain. He looked set to be England's skipper heading into the 2012 championship but succumbed to injury - had fortune favoured Wood, he could have been on the Lions tour but he will have to be content with captaining England in South America.
  • The task of facing the Pumas will not be easy, they are looking to make some waves in their second season in the Rugby Championship and what better way than putting Lancaster's men to the sword. While the Lions will be the undoubted draw this summer, England's tour to Argentina should also be fascinating.
  • Tom Hamilton

England open their summer tour against the Barbarians at Twickenham on May 26 and will then travel to South America playing a warm-up game against a South American XV in Montevideo on June 2 before Tests against the Pumas in Salta and Buenos Aires on June 8 and 15.

The trip will give Lancaster a chance to run the rule over some players who are yet to benefit from playing time on the Test stage and those who were on the fringe of the Six Nations squad. Among the 11 uncapped players in the squad, London Irish's Marland Yarde, Gloucester's Jonny May and Wasps' Christian Wade will look to provide some gas on the flanks.

They are joined in the backs by debutants Kyle Eastmond and Joel Tomkins. In the pack, Harlequins' Rob Buchanan gets the nod at hooker while Northampton's Calum Clark, Worcester Warriors Matt Kvesic, Leicester's Ed Slater, Sale's Henry Thomas and Wasps' Billy Vunipola, who is the youngest member of the squad.

"We're really looking forward to this tour and we've selected a young and exciting side which I'm sure will do the country proud in a tough series of matches," Lancaster said. "The key principles in selection were threefold: first and foremost to win the games but also to develop strength in depth and more options in certain positions, and to give one or two players a physical and mental break.

"We feel we've got the balance right and have given places to a number of players who have shone in the Aviva Premiership this season, one or two who have been on the fringes for a while, and several players who have been involved over the last year or so. This is everyone's chance to step up."

Forwards: Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Rob Buchanan (Harlequins), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Paul Doran Jones (Northampton Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins) , Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), David Paice (London Irish), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Billy Vunipola (London Wasps), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, captain)

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), David Strettle (Saracens), Joel Tomkins (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Marland Yarde (London Irish)

Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers) and James Haskell (London Wasps) were not considered on medical grounds

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