Billy Vunipola. PA
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England recall Billy Vunipola for Australia rugby tour

England will travel to Australia on Tuesday ahead of their first game against the Wallabies in Perth on 2 July 2.

EDDIE JONES ON Monday recalled powerful Saracens forward Billy Vunipola and named veteran scrum-half Danny Care in his 36-man squad for England’s three-Test Australia tour in July.

Injuries to Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds have opened the door for No. 8 Vunipola to make his first international appearance since last year’s Six Nations.

England will travel to Australia on Tuesday ahead of their first game against the Wallabies in Perth on 2 July, with matches to follow in Brisbane and Sydney.

Jones has selected 12 players from the weekend’s Premiership Rugby finalists, Leicester and Saracens, including a return for Australia-born Vunipola, whose brother, Mako Vunipola, is also in the squad.

Vunipola, 29, was knocked out in the closing stages of Saracens’ 15-12 final defeat but has been included in the touring party and will compete with Tom Curry for the number eight jersey.

Joe Marler and Ben Youngs, England’s most-capped player, are notable absentees but 35-year-old Care, who played for England in the 52-21 non-cap loss to the Barbarians on Sunday, is included as he nudges closer to winning his first cap since 2018.

There are eight uncapped players in the touring party including rising teenage star Henry Arundell and Will Joseph, who are named as apprentice players.

Ten players are unavailable for selection due to injury including Leicester’s George Ford, who hobbled off early in the Premiership final at Twickenham.

“Though we have 10 players unavailable due to injury, we have picked a very strong squad capable of winning the series,” said England coach Jones.

“This squad is a real mix of young, talented players and some very experienced, senior players and we’re looking forward to bring the group together.

“This tour will be a great experience for the group and a crucial part of the team’s work towards the Rugby World Cup in 2023.”

England have won all eight of their Tests against the Wallabies since former Australia coach Jones took charge after the 2015 World Cup, including a 3-0 series whitewash six years ago.

England squad

Backs: Henry Arundell (London Irish), Danny Care (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Tommy Freeman (Northampton), George Furbank (Northampton), Will Joseph (London Irish), Joe Marchant (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Guy Porter (Leicester), Harry Randall (Bristol), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester)

Forwards: Ollie Chessum (Leicester), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Tom Curry (Sale), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Heyes (Leicester), Jonny Hill (Exeter), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton), Bevan Rodd (Sale), Patrick Schickerling (Exeter), Will Stuart (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Walker (Harlequins), Jack Willis (Wasps)

– © AFP 2022

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