Opportunity knocks for England rugby team's fringe players on summer tour to Argentina

Bob Baker
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England Media Access
Saracens back Alex Lozowski may get a chance to impress in South America this summer (Source: Getty)

Never mind the roaring Lions and their quadrennial tour to New Zealand, this summer England will be touring the nether regions of Argentina, the prospect of which is mouth-watering.

Impressively, the stadium hosting the second Test, the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, can accommodate more than 22 per cent of its namesake city’s population.

If Twickenham was proportionately the same size, it would hold just short of 2m fans, with a sell-out in San Juan certainly a more impressive feat than a full house for the British and Irish Lions in Auckland.

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The team boarding the plane to Argentina for two matches in June will be strong given the depth that Eddie Jones has been able to build in his squad, but it will also allow for the inclusion of a number of names that have been waiting in the wings.

Forwards such as Tommy Taylor, Nathan Catt, Jack Clifford, Charlie Ewels and Ellis Genge will be ready to put in a good showing against the men of the pampas.

Teimana Harrison should get a bit more field time than the 20 minutes he was afforded during last year’s tour down under.

Among the backs, Alex Lozowski and Henry Slade will have the chance to prove their mettle in what ought to be a brace of bruising bash-ups.

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Jack Clifford looks likely to be part of England's squad (Source: Getty)

Outside of the current elite player squad there will inevitably be some surprise inclusions.

The “uncapped Lion” story may drain the ink of the printing presses but Eddie Jones’s view on the upcoming national starlets will also be of significance two years out from the next World Cup.

Wasps flanker Sam Jones could be an interesting outsider if he battles back from being Maro Itoje-d in England’s dojo late last year.

Recent league convert Denny Solomona is a controversial candidate. Scrum-halves Dan Robson and Joe Simpson ought to be in with a big chance, while Tom Youngs should definitively find out whether his England days are all but over.

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Code-switcher Denny Solomona (left) could be in contention for a call-up (Source: Getty)

The lesser-known names will have to reschedule their off-season trips to Ibiza or Puerto Banus in order to pull on the red rose, with Sale prop Ross Harrison and his better-known partner in crime, hooker Rob Webber, both likely to have thrown their names into the mix.

Irrespective of the debate around who will be going and who will not, for many the pride of national selection will likely be fractionally tempered by a feeling of internal disappointment.

After a season characterised by frosty morning full contact training and endless mauling drills in the horizontal rain, that well-deserved fun in the sun will have to wait for a few more weeks.

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