Billy Vunipola and Care named in England squad

Danny Care
Danny Care (left) played in England’s 52-21 loss to the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday

Billy Vunipola and Danny Care have been named alongside eight uncapped players in England’s squad for their three-Test tour in Australia next month.

Harlequins number eight Alex Dombrandt is injured so Vunipola, who last played in the 2021 Six Nations, returns.

Scrum-half Care is named but England’s most capped male player, Ben Youngs, does not travel with the squad.

The first Test is in Perth on 2 July, followed by matches in Brisbane on 9 July and Sydney on 16 July.

Care, 35, won the last of his 84 caps in 2018, but played for England in the 52-21 non-cap loss to 14-man Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.

Head coach Eddie Jones said: “Though we have ten players unavailable due to injury, we have picked a very strong squad capable of winning the series.

“This squad is a real mix of young, talented players and some very experienced, senior players and we’re looking forward to bring the group together.

“This tour will be a great experience for the group and a crucial part of the team’s work towards the Rugby World Cup in 2023. We will continue to develop the base of the squad and how we want to play.

“We’ve put a lot of work into preparation for the tour over the past few weeks but now the hard work really begins when we finally get the squad on the plane and to Australia.”

Billy Vunipola
Billy Vunipola last played for England in the 32-18 loss to Ireland in the Six Nations in March 2021

On the recall of Vunipola, who has won 61 caps, Jones told BBC Sport: “We’re really pleased for Billy. He was a bit up and down for us and we felt he needed to go and find his best and he has done that over a period of 12 months.

“It’s about that front foot quick ball which he is capable of doing and also the ability to play through the lines and offload and create different opportunities.”

On the decision to select Care, Jones added: “I think he has been a really good player and the game is changing, it keeps going back and forth.

“The really good attacking teams are able to make sure their defence does not recover and there’s no-one better in the game at the moment than Danny Care to do that. He has made a decision to really give his best.

“The squad is a real mix of experienced players coming back and some exciting young talent coming through and that’s the mix you want before a World Cup.

“We have to get on the front foot and it’s one of those great tours where you have to be united as a team and fight hard.”

In 2016, with Jones in charge, England won all three matches in Australia to complete a series whitewash. It was the first 3-0 series win by a touring side in Australia since South Africa in 1971.

Henry Slade (shoulder), Manu Tuilagi (knee), Sam Simmonds (hip) and Kyle Sinckler (back) are all unavailable, as are Louis Lynagh, Anthony Watson (all calf), Alex Dombrandt (knee) and George Ford (ankle).

The eight uncapped players in the squad are Patrick Schickerling of Exeter Chiefs, London Irish duo Henry Arundell and Will Joseph, Northampton Saints’ Fraser Dingwall and Tommy Freeman, Leicester Tigers’ Guy Porter and Jack van Poortvliet, along with Jack Walker of Harlequins.

England squad:

Forwards: Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks), Patrick Schickerling (Exeter Chiefs), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Walker (Harlequins), Jack Willis (Wasps).

Backs: Henry Arundell (London Irish), Danny Care (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Will Joseph (London Irish), Joe Marchant (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers), Harry Randall (Bristol Bears), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers).

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