Danny Cipriani is one of 20 players from the six Aviva Premiership clubs which have finished their seasons that will report for training with England at the Lensbury Club, Teddington, on Sunday, May 18.
The players from Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester Rugby, London Irish, Newcastle Falcons, Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors will be in contention for selection for the tour to New Zealand next month and the match against the Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday, June 1.
Cipriani, who won the last of his seven Test caps in 2008, is rewarded for an assured Aviva Premiership campaign in Salford, with Steve Diamond’s Sale strongly represented by hooker Tommy Taylor, lock Michael Paterson and prop Henry Thomas.
Worcester full back Chris Pennell is another to be included following a superb year from an individual standpoint.
Though the West Midlands side was relegated at the end of a term that saw just two wins, Pennell was truly outstanding. Playing every minute of the 22 rounds, he made the most metres with ball in hand (1,527) from the most carries (253), beating 54 defenders on the way to scoring five tries.
Despite mixed results at Sandy Park and an underwhelming eighth-place finish, five of Rob Baxter’s Chiefs make the initial party.
Three of them – Luke Cowan-Dickie, Henry Slade and Sam Hill – started last summer’s succesful Junior World Championship final for England Under 20, while the other two, Tom Johnson and Dave Ewers, have enjoyed consistent displays in the back row.
Ewers, a barnstorming No.8 who made a Saxons bow in January, racked up 199 tackles and 194 carries over the course of the season.
Further players will be added to the squad from the six remaining Aviva Premiership clubs Bath Rugby, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, London Wasps, Northampton Saints and Saracens following the conclusion of the Aviva Premiership semi-finals and final (May 16/17 and 31), the Amlin Challenge Cup final (May 23), Heineken Cup final (May 24) and Wasps’ European Rugby Champions Cup play-off (May 18 and 24).
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “The New Zealand tour and the game against the Barbarians give us a chance to look at a wide group of players, some of whom are well known to us from the Elite Player Squad, others who we will get to work with for the first time next week.
“That is an exciting challenge for us coaches and it’s a great opportunity for those players to put a marker down for selection for the tour and the Barbarians game.”
The first group of players will fly to New Zealand on May 27 (arriving May 29) and the second group will fly on June 2 following the Aviva Premiership final and Barbarians game and join the squad in Auckland on June 4.
England training squad
Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Michael Paterson (Sale Sharks)
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors)
Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby)
Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Tommy Taylor (Sale Sharks)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Marland Yarde (London Irish)