England in fine fettle to face rugby Everest: an odyssey in New Zealand

England’s forthcoming series against the All Blacks will mark the end of one era and usher in the next

In the fast-changing modern sporting world there are not many old-school Everests left. Certainly not in rugby union which, aside from the British & Irish Lions, is about to pension off traditional southern hemisphere tours. Blend it all together and there is a special resonance to England’s upcoming first trip to New Zealand in a decade, even with the Euros under way and the strawberries on order for Wimbledon.

In many ways it will mark the end of one era and usher in the next. The new Nations Championship is due to commence in 2026, with familiar touring rhythms set to be exchanged for in-and-out “business trips” involving three different opponents. England will still play the All Blacks in their back yard but not under the same claustrophobic “see-you-next-week” circumstances which have shaped the game’s greatest rivalries.

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Steve Borthwick puts faith in Tom Curry in much-changed England tour squad

  • Overworked Maro Itoje set to face Japan and All Blacks
  • Six uncapped players include Roebuck and Carpenter

Times are changing in English rugby as the 36-man squad to tour Japan and New Zealand clearly illustrates. It has been many years since a full‑strength Red Rose squad boarded a long-haul flight without Owen ­Farrell, ­Courtney Lawes, the Vunipola brothers, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs, Danny Care, George Ford or Kyle Sinckler and only half a dozen of Steve Borthwick’s players have accrued more than 40 Test caps.

It explains two things about the head coach’s selection: the genuine sense of opportunity for numerous individuals, and Borthwick’s reluctance to leave any more of his experienced senior pros at home. Tom Curry has barely played this year after hip surgery, while Maro Itoje should theoretically be entitled to a rest – but both key forwards will tour this summer regardless.

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Tom Curry picked for England’s tour to Japan and New Zealand despite lay-off

  • Curry has played 34 minutes this season due to hip injury
  • Borthwick selects six uncapped players in 36-man squad

Tom Curry has been included in an England squad that contains seven players from newly crowned Premiership champions Northampton.

Curry features in the 36-man group that will depart for the summer tour to Japan and New Zealand on Wednesday despite having played only 34 minutes since the World Cup.

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George Ford out of England’s summer tour with achilles injury

  • Fly-half will miss Tests in Japan and New Zealand
  • Marcus Smith and Fin Smith will vie for No 10 role

George Ford has been ruled out of England’s tour of Japan and New Zealand starting this month with an achilles injury, leaving Marcus Smith and Fin Smith going head to head for the No 10 jersey. Ford started all five Six Nations matches this year at fly-half but Steve Borthwick and Sale Sharks have agreed that due to the pre-existing injury, the 31-year-old should stay in England.

Fin Smith suffered an injury scare in Northampton’s Premiership final victory over Bath on Saturday but the Saints director of rugby, Phil Dowson, revealed afterwards that his fly-half had been struggling with cramp, ensuring he will be named in Borthwick’s squad on Monday along with his namesake Marcus.

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Police investigate Jonny Hill’s alleged altercation with fan after Bath v Sale

  • Sharks lock was watching Saturday’s playoff defeat at Bath
  • Tom Curry called into England squad after return from injury

A police investigation has been launched following an incident that left a supporter with a cut above his eye in an alleged altercation with Jonny Hill after Bath’s Premiership playoff win against Sale at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

The 28-year-old supporter reported the incident to Avon and Somerset police, who confirmed that an investigation is under way. Hill, who plays for Sale but is out with injury, was watching the match from near the press box alongside the Sharks’ coaches. After the final whistle Hill was seen in a scuffle as he went down the stairs of the stand. The supporter complained of broken sunglasses and a cut above his eye.

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