Danny Cipriani in England contention after training squad call

England head coach Stuart Lancaster includes Sale Sharks star Danny Cipriani in his training squad

Sale Sharks star Danny Cipriani

Danny Cipriani is in England contention after his inclusion in a 20-man Red Rose training squad that will meet this weekend.

The Sale Sharks outside-half hasn’t featured for England since 2008, but is rewarded for a return to form that saw the club challenge for the Premiership’s top four and reach the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

It’s a great opportunity for those players to put a marker down for selection for the tour and the Barbarians game

Stuart Lancaster

With six Aviva Premiership clubs still involved in the league’s semi-finals this weekend or the European finals next weekend, Lancaster has seen his options limited as he attempts to prepare his plans for the next months.

Lancaster needs two squads to cover England’s match against Barbarians at Twickenham on 1 June—the day after the Premiership final—and their first Test in New Zealand on 7 June, which requires a squad to fly to the southern hemisphere before the conclusion of the domestic season on 31 May.

“The New Zealand tour and the game against the Barbarians give us a chance to look at a wide group of players, some of whom are well known to us from the Elite Player Squad, others who we will get to work with for the first time next week,” said Lancaster.

“That is an exciting challenge for us coaches and it’s a great opportunity for those players to put a marker down for selection for the tour and the Barbarians game.”

Worcester Warriors full-back Chris Pennell is another player whose inclusion is a reward for a strong season which saw him score five tries despite his club’s relegation, playing every minute of all 22 matches and making the most metres with ball in hand (1,527), most carries (253) and beating 54 defenders.

If Pennell plays for England against the Barbarians, he will come up against his club’s director of rugby Dean Ryan, who is in charge of the Barbarians for the Twickers match.

Despite a disappointing season, Exeter Chiefs have five players included in the training squad, including promising hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, number 8 Dave Ewers and flanker Tom Johnson.

Gloucester also disappointed after being tipped as top four finishers, but contribute eight players to the squad including winger Jonny May, centre Billy Twelvetrees and number 8 Ben Morgan, who were all influential in England’s Six Nations squad earlier this year.

The first group of players will fly to New Zealand on 27 May with the second group will fly on 2 June to join the squad in Auckland on 4 June.

Lancaster will announce further players to join the squad as they become available.

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)

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