Exeter forwards Greg Fisilau and Rusi Tuima to join England camp ahead of New Zealand tour

Greg Fisilau runs with the ball against Leicester Tigers
Greg Fisilau (left) has already been name-checked by England coach Steve Borthwick - Getty Images/Graham Chadwick

Greg Fisilau and Rusi Tuima are expected to join up with England for next week’s training camp and bid for places on the summer tour to Japan and New Zealand.

Both forwards enjoyed excellent seasons for Exeter Chiefs, earning the chance to represent England A in the 91-5 victory over Portugal in February. With Ellis Genge and Ollie Chessum already ruled out of the trip due to injury, Steve Borthwick will need to consider his options up front and is due to announce a squad of around 20 on Sunday afternoon.

Comprising players from the six clubs not involved in the Premiership semi-finals, this group will assemble at Pennyhill Park before others are added after the play-off matches featuring Northampton Saints, Saracens, Bath and Sale Sharks next weekend. A final squad will be named on June 10.

Henry Slade, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and Ethan Roots are understood to be joining Fisilau and Tuima as part of a strong number from Exeter in this first selection from Borthwick.

Exeter Chiefs lock Rus Tuima charges to the try line
Rusi Tuima has enjoyed an impressive season for Exeter - PA/David Davies

Jack van Poortvliet, the Leicester Tigers scrum-half, is set to return to the England fold for the first time since damaging his ankle in the World Cup warm-up game against Wales last August. George Martin, Joe Heyes, Freddie Steward and Dan Cole should be included among the Leicester contingent.

Max Malins, Gabriel Oghre and Harry Randall will be rewarded for their form with Bristol Bears, with Jamie Blamire and Guy Pepper of Newcastle Falcons also receiving call-ups. The 21-year-old Pepper, bound for Bath, has impressed despite a winless campaign for Falcons and, on the back of a start at openside flanker for England A, was drafted into the senior squad for the last match of this season’s Six Nations.

Zach Mercer and Arthur Clark are thought to be in contention from Gloucester, while Harlequins are expected to contribute Marcus Smith, Fin Baxter and Chandler Cunningham-South, among others. Luke Northmore, the uncapped Harlequins centre, returned strongly from injury during the second half of the season and is said to have been on Borthwick’s radar.

Zach Mercer celebrates a Gloucester try
Zach Mercer (centre) is in contention after his form for Gloucester - PA/Joe Giddens

Fisilau, name-checked by Borthwick over the course of last season, started 14 Premiership matches at the base of Exeter’s scrum and featured in six more as Chiefs reached the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup. Still 20, he was born in Plymouth where his father, the Tonga international Keni, enjoyed a long career.

Exeter signed young Fisilau, a recent England Under-20 international, upon the demise of Wasps in the autumn of 2022 and have wasted little time in making him a prominent figure in their rebuild. Rob Baxter has suggested that Fisilau will improve and build on a breakthrough season as his “physical development and maturity” continue over time.

Tuima was similarly successful during the 2023-24 campaign, though he has not played since last month’s loss to Toulouse because of injury. Having converted to lock from the back row over last summer, he scored eight tries in all competitions and shone in the England A fixture against Portugal with a dynamic performance.

The Suva-born England age-grade representative, a nephew of Fiji international Akapusi Qera and a cousin of Joe Cokanasiga, was named in the second row of the Premiership team of the season.