Youngs gets surprise England call

PA Sport
Tom Youngs (left)
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Tom Youngs (left)

Leicester hooker Tom Youngs is understood to have been included in England's 42-man squad for the daunting five-match tour of South Africa, despite never having started an Aviva Premiership match in the position.

Youngs, 25, is a converted centre and his Premiership experience is limited to just 12 appearances off the bench for Leicester, nine of which came this season. But with Rob Webber and Chris Brooker injured, Youngs has been selected alongside his scrum-half brother Ben as one of four hookers in England's touring party.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster will announce his full squad for the three-Test tour on Thursday and Youngs is among a host of uncapped players to have been included.

Lancaster has also recalled Danny Care after the Harlequins scrum-half was excluded from the RBS 6 Nations on disciplinary grounds, along with James Haskell, who was unavailable for the championship as he was playing in Japan.

Bath flanker Carl Fearns will provide back-row options following tour-ending injuries to Tom Croft and Tom Wood, while there are doubts over the fitness of Ben Morgan.

The Wasps pair of wing Christian Wade and lock Joe Launchbury, two of the Aviva Premiership's brightest prospects, have been rewarded for outstanding seasons in a struggling side.

They will be joined in the squad by the uncapped Harlequins quartet of centre George Lowe, lock George Robson, hooker Joe Gray and prop Joe Marler.

Lancaster has also brought some experienced internationals back into the England fold, most notably the Harlequins pair of Care and Ugo Monye.

Care was excluded from England's Six Nations squad on disciplinary grounds following his arrest, and subsequent conviction, for drink driving, but he has been given a second chance by Lancaster.

"I'm on my last chance now and I have a lot to prove to lots of people," Care said. "I still owe Harlequins an awful lot and I owe Stuart a lot. To have the opportunity to play for England taken away was a very hard lesson to learn, but I will not be making the mistake again."

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