Van Gisbergen gets England call

England boss Andy Robinson has named five uncapped players - including New Zealand-born Wasps star Mark Van Gisbergen - in his 30-man squad for the autumn Tests. [more]

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England boss Andy Robinson has named five uncapped players – including New Zealand-born Wasps star Mark Van Gisbergen – in his 30-man squad for the autumn Tests.

Full-back Van Gisbergen, 28, is joined by fellow rookies, Bath hooker Lee Mears, Perpignan’s ex-Leicester prop Perry Freshwater and the Gloucester pair of scrum-half Peter Richards and lock Alex Brown.

Van Gisbergen only qualified for England on residency grounds earlier this month, but his club form in helping Wasps to three successive Premiership titles and a Heineken cup triumph has reaped its reward.

And it would be no surprise, especially following Jason Robinson’s retirement from Test rugby, if he is promoted straight into the starting XV to play Australia.

"Mark is a quality player and I have been impressed by his performances for Wasps, not least his place-kicking, and I look forward to seeing how he fits in with the England squad," said head coach Robinson.

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There is no place for fly-half Jonny Wilkinson as he continues his recovery from an appendix operation, so Leicester number eight Martin Corry continues as captain after leading England in their final two RBS 6 Nations games last season.

Two other players were not considered because of injury, Saracens big-money rugby league recruit Andy Farrell and Wasps’ promising flanker Tom Rees.

There is a recall for Worcester skipper Pat Sanderson but Robinson has also put an emphasis on youth with a call-up for Gloucester back-row forward James Forrester.

England have lost nine of their last 16 Tests, so Robinson has dispensed with several of the old guard, players like World Cup winners Ben Cohen, Will Greenwood, Andy Gomarsall, Ben Kay and Julian White.

The omissions also include Sale Sharks hooker Andy Titterrell, who toured New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions earlier this summer.

Titterell, though, does feature on a 10-strong list of stand-by players, a contingent which also features White, his fellow Leicester prop Graham Rowntree, Bath lock Steve Bortwick and Newcastle youngster Mathew Tait.

England kick off their autumn programme against Australia at Twickenham on November 12, followed by appointments on successive weekends with New Zealand and Samoa.

England’s 30-man squad for the November internationals against Australia, New Zealand and Samoa:

Backs: I Balshaw (Leeds), M Van Gisbergen (Wasps), J Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester), M Cueto (Sale Sharks), J Lewsey (Wasps), S Abbott (Wasps), M Tindall (Gloucester), J Noon (Newcastle), O Smith (Leicester), C Hodgson (Sale Sharks), A Goode (Leicester), M Dawson (Wasps), H Ellis (Leicester), P Richards (Gloucester).

Forwards: A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), P Freshwater (Perpignan), P Vickery (Gloucester), M Stevens (Bath), S Thompson (Northampton), L Mears (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), D Grewcock (Bath), A Brown (Gloucester), T Palmer (Leeds), M Corry (Leicester, capt), C Jones (Sale), L Moody (Leicester), P Sanderson (Worcester), J Worsley (Wasps), J Forrester (Gloucester).

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