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BBC Sport's Alastair Hignell
"It's probably the largest tour to leave England"
 real 14k

Manger Clive Woodward
"We have picked out strongest team"
 real 14k

Monday, 30 April, 2001, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Bracken will lead England
Kyran Bracken in action
Bracken (with ball) skippers tour to USA and Canada
Click here for full England squad

Kyran Bracken will captain a 40-man England squad on this summer's tour of Canada and the USA.

The Saracens scrum-half leads a group that includes 20 uncapped players, as England travel to North America without their sizeable Australia-bound Lions contingent.

There is some experience on hand however, in the shape of Tim Stimpson, David Rees, Graham Rowntree, Julian White, Simon Shaw and tour vice-captain Martin Corry.

Surprise squad selections include 19-year-old Bath fly-half prospect Ollie Barkley, who is set to begin a three-year contract at the Recreation Ground after a stint with New Zealand club Counties.

Clive Woodward
Woodward has plenty of talent to work with
Leicester prop Ricky Nebbett and Leeds lock Tom Palmer have also been given their chance to shine.

Stade Francais flanker Richard Pool-Jones is back, three years after being capped on England's 'tour from hell' in the southern hemisphere.

England kick-off the five-match trip against Canada in Toronto on 2 June.

Manager Clive Woodward's coaching team comprises Brian Ashton, John Wells, Ellery Hanley and goalkicking specialist Paul Grayson.

The party will meet up on 23 May, three days before they take on the Barbarians at Twickenham, in a game which replaces the traditional end of season encounter with the English champions.

"The intention is to give every member of the squad a start at some stage," said Woodward.

"But no-one should get the idea that this is a development tour. I have picked the strongest squad available to me."

This team could be our full international side and I would
  Clive Woodward
Woodward said he will have no problem releasing any of his players - including Bracken - should they be required for Lions duty at any stage during the three-week trip.

But he did suggest that it would be helpful to know which England players were on a reserve list, so he could also make contingency plans.

The England coach has no fears that the tour will turn into the type of disaster which occurred in 1998, when his below-strength side suffered a record 76-0 defeat in Australia.

"We are far stronger now. Most of our forwards have played international rugby and I don't feel there is any comparison to 1998.

"This team could be our full international side and I would have no hesitation putting them in against anyone."

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England squad:

Backs: T Stimpson (Leicester), M Stephenson (Newcastle), D Rees (Bristol), P Sampson (Wasps), P Sackey (London Irish), T Voyce (Bath), L Lloyd (Leicester), J Lewsey (Wasps), B Johnston (Saracens), J Ewens (Gloucester), F Waters (Wasps), J Noon (Newcastle), A King (Wasps), O Barkley (Bath), D Walder (Newcastle), K Bracken (Saracens, capt), M Wood (Wasps), S Benton (Leeds).

Forwards: D Flatman (Saracens), J White (Saracens), T Woodman (Gloucester), R Nebbett (Leicester), G Rowntree (Leicester), D West (Leicester), M Regan (Bath), A Long (Bath), C Fortey (Gloucester), S Thompson (Northampton), S Shaw (Wasps), S Borthwick (Bath), B Kay (Leicester), T Palmer (Leeds), A Brown (Bristol), M Corry (Leicester, vice-captain), A Hazell (Gloucester), J Worsley (Wasps), S White-Cooper (Harlequins), A Sanderson (Sale), L Moody (Leicester), R Pool-Jones (Stade Francais).

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See also:

27 Apr 01 |  Lions Down Under
Campese rebuke for 'brutal' Lions
13 Dec 00 |  Rugby Union
Clawing their way back
25 Apr 01 |  Lions Down Under
Dawson relishes the challenge
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