Borthwick to lead England Down-under

Martin Johnson has named Bath lock Steve Borthwick as captain for next month’s two-Test tour of New Zealand, Johnson has also named six uncapped players in the 32 man squad. Topsy Ojo, Danny Care, Jason Hobson, Dylan Hartley, David Paice and Nick Kennedy are the new faces.

Gloucester backs Iain Balshaw and Lesley Vainikolo, who both featured for England during this year’s Six Nations, have been left out, with Mike Brown edging out Balshaw.

The selection of wing Ojo is not a great surprise considering his performances this season and its good to see second row Kennedy being considered at last.  with hooker Paice being included it acknowledges the fine season for London Irish after they reached the Heineken Cup semi-finals.

England depart for New Zealand on Monday, 2 June, the day after they play the Barbarians at Twickenham. They take on the All Blacks in Auckland on 14 June, with a second Test in Christchurch the following Saturday, 21 June.

With Johnson staying at home to be with his pregnant wife Kay, Andrew will head up a tour management party including coaches John Wells (forwards), Mike Ford (defence), Graham Rowntree (scrummaging) and Jon Callard (kicking), with the backs coach yet to be named.

England squad
Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), P Sackey (Wasps), D Strettle (Harlequins), T Ojo (London Irish), M Tait (Newcastle), M Tindall (Gloucester), J Noon (Newcastle), T Flood (Newcastle), O Barkley (Bath), D Cipriani (Wasps), C Hodgson (Sale Sharks), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks), P Richards (London Irish), D Care (Harlequins).
Forwards: A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), T Payne (Wasps), M Stevens (Bath), J Hobson (Bristol), L Mears (Bath), D Hartley (Northampton), D Paice (London Irish), S Borthwick (Bath, capt), B Kay (Leicester), N Kennedy (London Irish), T Palmer (Wasps), T Croft (Leicester), J Haskell (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), M Lipman (Bath), T Rees (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins), L Narraway (Gloucester).