Van Poortvliet back in England squad ahead of summer tour

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Van Poortvliet back in England squad ahead of summer tour

Jack van Poortvliet has made his first appearance in an England squad since injury ruled him out out of last autumn’s Rugby World Cup as Steve Borthwick examines his options ahead of the tour to Japan and New Zealand.

Scrum-half Van Poortvliet is included in a 19-man group that will begin preparations on Monday for the June 22 Test against Eddie Jones’ Japan and two matches against the All Blacks, live on Sky Sports, on July 6 and 13.

Leicester star Van Poortvliet, 23, suffered ankle ligament damage in a World Cup warm-up match against Wales last year, ending his participation in the tournament before it had begun and also sat out the Six Nations.

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Borthwick’s squad is missing players from Premiership semi-finalists Northampton, Bath, Sale and Saracens, who will be added when their clubs are knocked out of the competition, with the finalised group to be named on June 10.

There is no place for Gloucester No 8 Zach Mercer despite his club season finishing with Friday night’s Challenge Cup final defeat by the Sharks but Exeter forwards Greg Fisilau and Rusi Tuima have been called up for the first time.

Bristol Bears’ Ellis Genge will miss the entire tour due to a calf injury, offering the opportunity for the highly-rated Fin Baxter to press his claim at loosehead prop with Joe Marler also set to travel.

Ellis Genge

Image: Ellis Genge will miss the summer tour due to a calf injury

England 19-player training squad

Forwards: Fin Baxter (Harlequins), Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Greg Fisilau (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), George Martin (Leicester Tigers), Gabriel Oghre (Bristol Bears), Guy Pepper (Newcastle Falcons), Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs), Rusi Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)

Backs: Charlie Atkinson (Gloucester Rugby), Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs), Max Malins (Bristol Bears), Luke Northmore (Harlequins), Harry Randall (Bristol Bears), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers)

England’s summer fixtures (UK and Irish time)

Saturday June 22 – vs Japan (7am)
Saturday July 6 – vs New Zealand (8.05am)
Saturday July 13 – vs New Zealand (8.05am)

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