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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Robinson to captain England squad
Jason Robinson in action during the 207 Six Nations
Robinson returned to international rugby at the start of the year
Jason Robinson will captain England's depleted squad for the two-Test tour of South Africa this month.

Club commitments mean Brian Ashton has not selected any Leicester, Wasps or Bath players in his 30-man squad.

World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson, Mark Regan, Andy Gomarsall and Ben Cohen make the trip but Mike Catt is injured.

The seven uncapped players are Nick Wood, Darren Crompton, Peter Buxton, Roy Winters, Dean Schofield, Matt Cairns and Mike Brown.

In addition to the missing players from Leicester, Wasps and Bath, who are involved in European finals the weekend before the first Test, Ashton has also been hit by a glut of injuries.

I thoroughly enjoyed my previous spell as captain and I am looking forward to the trip as I have never played there before

Tour captain Jason Robinson

Catt, who captained England in their last two Six Nations matches, has a buttock problem while the Sale pair of Andrew Sheridan and Mark Cueto have not recovered from their leg injuries.

Centre Mike Tindall is ruled out with a leg injury while his Gloucester team-mates Olly Morgan and James Forrester also miss out, but there is better news with Newcastle fly-half Wilkinson.

He missed the Falcons' final Guinness Premiership game of the season at the weekend because of a rib cartilage injury, but looks set to start in the first Test on 26 May.

606: DEBATE

Ashton was putting a brave face on his under-strength selection, although he admitted England had a very difficult tour ahead of them.

"If you look at some of the experienced characters, as well as some of the younger players who have recently appeared on the international scene, it's an interesting mixture," he said.

"It's going to be an enormous challenge for these players.

"We are under no illusions - it is going to be an incredibly tough two-and-a-half weeks but I don't expect any of the players or management to back down from that challenge."

Robinson said: "I am delighted to be appointed captain of England again for the forthcoming games in South Africa.

Dean Schofield takes on the Scarlets defence for Sale
Schofield provides the ballast in the Sale Sharks engine room

"It's a rugby nation, they love their sport and they're a very tough team to beat.

"What I see is a very good squad. There's a great opportunity for some of the younger players and some of the guys who have been on the fringes to say to Brian Ashton, 'hey, I'm here, don't overlook me'.

"Everybody's going to be working hard because they want to play in the World Cup this year."

Highly-rated London Irish back Shane Geraghty, who has not played since 24 March because of injury, will be included in the second-string England Saxons squad for the Churchill Cup this month.

England will be without the entire pack which started in their last match and of the seven uncapped players, six are forwards.

Young Gloucester prop Wood is rewarded for a fine season while fellow prop Crompton, back rower Buxton and second rows Winters and Schofield are all grizzled veterans on the club scene.

Saracens hooker Cairns has been on the fringes of the international game for some time and the only back, Harlequins full-back Brown, scored twice as Quins thrashed Sale on Saturday and has been drawing plaudits for his elusive running all season.

England fly out to South Africa on 15 May with the first Test taking place in Bloemfontein 11 days later and the second following in Pretoria on 2 June.


England squad for the tour of South Africa:

Forwards: Alex Brown (Gloucester Rugby), Peter Buxton (Gloucester Rugby), Matt Cairns (Saracens), Darren Crompton (Bristol Rugby), Nick Easter (NEC Harlequins), Andy Hazell (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Jones (Sale Sharks), Magnus Lund (Sale Sharks), Mark Regan (Bristol Rugby), Pat Sanderson (Worcester Warriors), Dean Schofield (Sale Sharks), Andy Titterrell (Sale Sharks), Stuart Turner (Sale Sharks), Roy Winters (Bristol Rugby), Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby), Kevin Yates (Saracens).

Backs: Anthony Allen (Gloucester Rugby), Mike Brown (NEC Harlequins), Ben Cohen (Northampton Saints), Andy Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Newcastle Falcons), Andy Gomarsall (NEC Harlequins), Jamie Noon (Newcastle Falcons), Shaun Perry (Bristol Rugby), Jason Robinson (capt, Sale Sharks), Peter Richards (Gloucester Rugby), James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby), David Strettle (NEC Harlequins), Mathew Tait (Newcastle Falcons), Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons).

Not considered because of injury: Mike Catt (London Irish, right buttock), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks, left calf), James Forrester (Gloucester Rugby, right knee), Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks, right knee), Olly Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, right shoulder), Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks, left knee), Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby, right leg), Dan Ward-Smith (Bristol Rugby, left knee).

Not considered because of club commitments: Players from London Wasps and Leicester Tigers (Heineken Cup finalists), Bath Rugby (European Challenge Cup finalists) and Perry Freshwater (Perpignan).



SEE ALSO
Forrester injury blow for England
30 Apr 07 |  Gloucester
Catt injury adds to England woes
27 Apr 07 |  English
Ashton pondering England options
24 Apr 07 |  English
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment


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