Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani has been named in England’s preliminary squad for next week’s training camp in south-west London.
It is Cipriani’s first Red Rose involvement since winning the last of his seven caps in 2008 and rewards a strong season at Sale Sharks, who he helped achieve a sixth-place finish in the Aviva Premiership.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster has named a 20-strong squad of players from those clubs whose season is over and will make further additions after this weekend’s play-offs.
England tour New Zealand next month, playing a three-Test series against the All Blacks, while a fringe team will face the Barbarians at Twickenham on June 1. The squad travels to New Zealand in two groups – the first on May 27 and the second on June 2.
England play the first of their three Tests against the All Blacks on Saturday, 7 June.
“The New Zealand tour and the game against the Barbarians give us a chance to look at a wide group of players,” Lancaster said.
Cipriani has repaired his reputation this season with his strong performances key to Sale’s progress and matched by a growing maturity off the pitch, addressing concerns over his attitude and celebrity liftestyle.
“Danny is back because of his form at Sale. He’s played well. I take my decisions based on what the coaches say and what I see myself,” Lancaster said.
“I spoke to Danny prior to the Six Nations, giving him areas to work on which he has done. I called him on Tuesday to invite him into the squad. I’ve coached Danny more than most because during the majority of my time as England Saxons coach he was on it. His club have done a fantastic job of making him a more rounded and mature person.”
Ten uncapped players, including four from Exeter, have been named in Lancaster’s training squad. Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dave Ewers, Sam Hill and Henry Slade are the quartet.
The other uncapped players selected are Newcastle prop Kieran Brookes, New Zealand-born forward Michael Paterson and Sale team-mate Tommy Taylor, Worcester full-back Chris Pennell and the Gloucester pair of scrum-half Dan Robson and centre Henry Trinder.
Training squad members are in with a shot at the tour and the Barbarians game, but are not guaranteed places.
The Premiership semi-finals and final take place on May 17/18 and May 31 respectively, the Amlin Challenge Cup final is on 23 May, the Heineken Cup final is on 24 May and Wasps’ European Rugby Champions Cup play-off takes place over two legs on 18 May and 24 May.
England training squad: Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Michael Paterson (Sale Sharks), Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors), Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Tommy Taylor (Sale Sharks), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Marland Yarde (London Irish).