Toby Flood and Charlie Hodgson were both cleared to fly with the squad to Auckland tonight despite taking blows to the head during England's laboured win over the Barbarians yesterday.
Varndell, leading try-scorer in the Premiership this season, originally missed out on senior selection in a tight call to Topsy Ojo, with Martin Johnson and Rob Andrew deciding he would benefit more from guaranteed game time at the Churchill Cup.
That suited Varndell fine. While the 22-year-old would never turn down an England invitation, a senior tour to the toughest destination in world rugby was not how he planned to rebuild his international career.
Varndell has bitter memories of his last England experience, when he was selected as a fresh-faced teenager for the ill-fated 2006 tour of Australia.
England were thumped, Varndell was bullied by powerful Wallaby winger Lote Tuqiri and it wrecked his confidence. Within four months of returning home, Leicester had farmed him out on loan to Bedford.
After two tough years Varndell now feels "a wiser player and a better player". He is hungry to experience Test rugby again but is also wary of taking too great a leap too soon.
Only last week, in the build-up to the Premiership final, Varndell said: "I want to play for England again and I want to be a regular in the England side but after what happened before I don't want to be chucked straight into it again.
"Yes I am the top try-scorer but I want to build my way back into the England squad. That is much better than being chucked straight back in for a tour to New Zealand."
But the fact is, Varndell now has a strong chance of lining up against the haka in Auckland a week on Saturday because England travel tonight armed with just three specialist wingers in Varndell, Ojo and Harlequins' David Strettle.
The versatile Mathew Tait has spent time on the wing for England but without much success and it would appear Andrew has the choice of two from three.
Despite his initial reticence, Varndell is ready to tackle the challenge of touring New Zealand.
The last two years have not only done wonders for his physique, under the guise of expert fitness coach Craig White, but also his confidence. Varndell is now a father and he believes that has helped his rugby.
"It's a great honour to be called up with so many quality English wingers around in the Guinness Premiership," he said today.
"My last senior tour was to Australia in 2006 so I'm looking forward to having the opportunity of being part of the England squad again.
"I'm sure the experience of being involved in the squad will be good for me."
Despite Varndell's try-scoring prowess, the loss of Sackey is another significant blow to an England squad already missing key personnel in the shape of Danny Cipriani, Simon Shaw and Phil Vickery.
Sackey's club coach Shaun Edwards recently described him on a par with Wales' Shane Williams as "the best winger in Europe".
Hodgson was declared fit to travel despite requiring 13 stitches to a nasty facial wound suffered when he clashed heads with former All Black Jerry Collins.
Flood was dazed after being clattered by South African number eight Pedro Wannenburg but will be available to compete for England's inside centre jersey.
The Barbarians game was a feisty affair and disagreements continued in the tunnel after the match between England captain Nick Easter and former Australia lock Justin Harrison.