England stars set for final Australian audition in Barbarians showdown


The England players have their last chance this weekend to impress Eddie Jones and earn a place on the tour this summer in Australia.

Jones will name his squad on Monday, shortly before the team is to fly after the Premiership final tomorrow and England’s capless game against the Barbarians on Sunday. Both games are at Twickenham.

Jones named his squad to face the Barbarians today, having had a 36-man squad that includes 10 uncapped players in camp this week. Obviously, Saracens and Leicester players – likely to make up a decent proportion of the squad – are unavailable due to the final.

Danny Care, who was originally set to play for the Barbarians, could make his first international appearance since 2018 after being named on the bench for England, while Northampton full-back Tommy Freeman and Harlequins hooker Jack Walker make their senior debut.

Henry Arundell and Will Joseph are missing from the squad, although London Irish team-mate Will Goodrick-Clarke is on the bench along with Exeter prop Patrick Schickerling and Bath fly-half Orlando Bailey.

Jones never lost to his native Australia as England head coach but Dave Rennie’s side are making a resurgence and the tour poses a significant challenge for a side that have won just two games in the Six Nations and which lacks first-choice centres. Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade due to injury. There are three tests in July, in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.

The England team will face the Barbarians

Starting XV: Free man; Cokanasiga, Marchant, Atkinson, May; Smith, Randall; Rodd, Walker, Collier, Ewels, Hill, Curry (c), Underhill, Dombrandt.

Replacements: Singleton, Goodrick-Clarke, Schickerling, Lawes, Willis, Care, Bailey, Nowell

The Barbarians, who are coached by France coach Fabien Galthie, have spent the week preparing in Monaco. The team, unsurprisingly, has a distinctly French vibe, with Charles Ollivon the captain and Damian Penaud and Virimi Vakatawa in defense.

But in second place they have the former Saracen duo of Englishman George Kruis and Australian Will Skelton. After a few years playing in Japan, 32-year-old Kruis makes his final appearance before his retirement this weekend.

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