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Tom Curry named in England’s summer tour squad despite limited game time

Tom Curry made a cameo appearance in Sale’s Premiership play-off defeat by Bath on June 1 (Adam Davy/PA)
Tom Curry made a cameo appearance in Sale’s Premiership play-off defeat by Bath on June 1 (Adam Davy/PA)

Tom Curry has been included in an England squad that contains seven players from newly crowned Gallagher Premiership champions Northampton.

Curry features in the 36-man group that will depart for the summer tour to Japan and New Zealand on Wednesday despite having played just 34 minutes since the World Cup.

The 25-year-old flanker recovered from a hip injury that he described as a “car crash” in time to make a cameo appearance in Sale’s Premiership play-off defeat by Bath on June 1.

Sharks boss Alex Sanderson said after the match that if Curry was taken on tour, it would be “guaranteed” to shorten his career.

Northampton are rewarded for toppling Bath in Saturday’s Premiership final with a strong contingent including uncapped wing Ollie Sleightholme, the league’s leading try scorer this season.

Saints hooker Curtis Langdon was expected to be picked but is absent having sustained an injury at Twickenham.

Sleightholme is one of six players yet to make their debut included in the squad, alongside Harlequins prop Fin Baxter, Bristol hooker Gabriel Oghre, Sale’s Joe Carpenter and Tom Roebuck and Harlequins centre Luke Northmore.

England announced on Sunday that George Ford would sit out the tour following a recurrence of an Achilles injury sustained in 2022, placing Fin Smith and Marcus Smith in a straight shootout at fly-half.

Ollie Sleightholme in action for Northampton
Ollie Sleightholme is one of six uncapped players in the squad (Robbie Stephenson/PA).

Head coach Steve Borthwick has opted to take just two playmakers, leaving Charlie Atkinson at home, with George Furbank and Henry Slade providing cover for the number 10 jersey.

Jack can Poortvliet has missed out on one of the three scrum-half slots after Alex Mitchell, Ben Spencer and Harry Randall were preferred for the summer Tests that begin in Tokyo on June 22.

Jamie George will continue to lead England after replacing Owen Farrell as captain for the Six Nations.

“The summer series presents a valuable opportunity for the continued development of this squad and is a demanding challenge to conclude the season,” Borthwick said.

“For some of the younger players it will be their first time touring abroad with England.

“Travelling together is a great way to build closer bonds and provides an important opportunity for new players to settle into our environment.

England head coach Steve Borthwick during a training session
England head coach Steve Borthwick (Zac Goodwin/PA).

“With the changes in climate, playing conditions and contrasting styles of rugby from the two opponents we face, we will be challenged on and off the field.

“The National Stadium in Tokyo is an incredible venue for Test match rugby and we will need to be at our very best against a Japanese team who will want to play fast.

“New Zealand’s home record is well documented and we face a team who came within one point of winning a World Cup.

“Historically it is not a place England have had much success, but we are determined to change that.

“The players know that they will need to be mentally strong and tactically smart if we are to get the result we want.”

England 36-man squad:

Forwards: F Baxter (Harlequins), D Cole (Leicester), A Coles (Northampton), C Cunningham-South (Harlequins), B Curry (Sale Sharks), T Curry (Sale Sharks), T Dan (Saracens), A Dombrandt (Harlequins), B Earl (Saracens), C Ewels (Bath), J George (Saracens, capt), J Heyes (Leicester), M Itoje (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), G Martin (Leicester), G Oghre (Bristol), B Rodd (Sale Sharks), E Roots (Exeter), W Stuart (Bath), S Underhill (Bath)

Backs: J Carpenter (Sale Sharks), F Dingwall (Northampton), I Feyi-Waboso (Exeter), T Freeman (Northampton), G Furbank (Northampton), O Lawrence (Bath), A Mitchell (Northampton), L Northmore (Harlequins), H Randall (Bristol), Roebuck (Sale Sharks), H Slade (Exeter), O Sleightholme (Northampton), F Smith (Northampton), M Smith (Harlequins), B Spencer (Bath), F Steward (Leicester).