Rugby

England add Catt to squad

2014-05-27 21:00
Nathan Catt (Getty Images)

London - England have added Bath prop Nathan Catt to their squad for the tour of New Zealand amid injury concerns over fellow front-row forwards Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler,it was announced Tuesday.

Vunipola has a knee injury and his fitness is being assessed ahead of Saturday's Premiership final between Saracens and Northampton at Twickenham.

Meanwhile Marler has a hip strain.

Catt is now due to fly out with the initially selected England squad to New Zealand later Tuesday, with Leicester prop Fraser Balmain taking his place in the England XV squad that will play the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.

"In light of Mako Vunipola's ongoing treatment for a knee injury ahead of the Premiership final and Joe Marler suffering a slight hip strain we have decided to take Nathan out with us now to ensure that he is up to speed with our systems and structures in the lead up to next week," said England coach Stuart Lancaster.

Even if he was fully fit, Vunipola would have missed England's opening Test of three against the world champion All Blacks in Auckland on June 7.

That is because all players from Saracens and Northampton have been ruled out of that international as they will have insufficient time to recover following the Premiership final.

The fact the climax to the English league season and the first Test effectively 'clash' has led to criticism of administrators at International Rugby Board, national and club level, with former England coach Clive Woodward among those arguing it ought to have been possible to create a schedule that enabled Lancaster to select his strongest available side for the series opener.

"Stuart Lancaster is having to leap through logistical hoops when this battle should have been fought -- and won - a long time ago," Woodward wrote in his Daily Mail column.

"Do not think for one minute this is just one of those things and won't happen again.

He added: "The All Blacks never come cheaply when they visit these shores and accept only the itinerary that suits them. And I don't blame them.

"Was enough effort really made to get New Zealand to put the Test schedule back by a week, which would have helped immensely? Were the England players consulted at all? How much was Lancaster consulted?

"To win (in New Zealand) you need everyone's noses pointing in the same direction and the Premiership and the RFU (England's governing Rugby Football Union) have let down this group of players."

Revised England squads

For New Zealand:

Backs:

Back threes: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester), Chris Pennell (Worcester), Marland Yarde (London Irish)

Centres: Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Henry Trinder (Gloucester), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester)

Flyhalves: Freddie Burns (Gloucester), Danny Cipriani (Sale)

Scrumhalves: Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester)

Forwards:

Back-rows: James Haskell (Wasps), Tom Johnson (Exeter), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)

Locks: Dave Attwood (Bath), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Ed Slater (Leicester)

Tight-head props: Kieran Brookes (Newcastle), Henry Thomas (Sale), David Wilson (Bath)

Hookers: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Dave Ward (Harlequins), Rob Webber (Bath)

Loose-head props: Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Nathan Catt (Bath)

Note: A further group will be announced and leave on Monday, June 2 following the English Premiership final between Saracens and Northampton (May 31) and the England XV v Barbarians match (June 1).

England squad to play Barbarians

Backs:

Back three: Elliot Daly (Wasps), Rob Miller (Sale), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester)

Centres: Ollie Devoto (Bath), Sam Hill (Exeter), Jonathan Joseph (Bath)

Flyhalf: Henry Slade (Exeter)

Scrumhalves: Dan Robson (Gloucester), Joe Simpson (Wasps)

Forwards:

Back-rows:

Dave Ewers (Exeter), James Gaskell (Sale), Jamie Gibson (Leicester), Luke Wallace (Harlequins)

Locks: Graham Kitchener (Leicester), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins), Michael Paterson (Sale)

Tight-head props: Will Collier (Harlequins), Kyle Sinkler (Harlequins)

Hookers: Rob Buchanan (Harlequins), Tommy Taylor (Sale)

Loose-head props: Fraser Balmain (Leicester), Ross Harrison (Sale)

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