Fin Baxter among seven uncapped players named in England training squad

Baxter has strong chance of touring this summe (Getty Images)
Baxter has strong chance of touring this summe (Getty Images)

England have named seven uncapped players in a 19-man initial training squad.

Gloucester No 8 Zach Mercer continues to be conspicuous by his absence, having only recently insisted he was back in the right head space to fight for an England future.

Mercer’s absence means head coach Steve Borthwick looks set to continue overlooking the former Montpellier man, who publicly vented frustrations on missing out on Six Nations selection.

The former Bath back-rower returned to France on the clear mission of breaking into the England line-up, but to no avail.

Head coach Borthwick cannot select any of the Gallagher Premiership semi-finalists, and so has opted to take a look at some bright prospects for the future.

Harlequins front-rower Fin Baxter is among that uncapped nucleus, but unlike other new faces has a strong chance of touring Japan and New Zealand this summer.

Exeter forwards Greg Fisilau and Rusi Tuima, Newcastle flanker Guy Pepper, Bristol hooker Gabriel Oghre, Gloucester playmaker Charlie Atkinson and Harlequins centre Luke Northmore have all been selected.

Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall is a notable inclusion, as are fit-again Leicester half-back Jack Van Poortvliet and Bristol utility back Max Malins.

Leicester tighthead Dan Cole and Harlequins loosehead Joe Marler are expected to join the England training ranks in the second week of preparations.

England’s 19-strong contingent will meet on Monday for a four-day training camp at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot.

Players from Northampton, Bath, Sale and Saracens are unavailable due to their play-off commitments.

Borthwick will select his final summer touring squad on June 10, with the full group subject to change.

England will face former Red Rose coach Eddie Jones’ Japan in Tokyo on June 22, before taking on New Zealand in Dunedin on July 6, then Auckland on July 13.

England training squad:

Forwards: F Baxter, C Cunningham-South, A Dombrandt (all Harlequins), G Fisilau (Exeter), J Heyes, G Martin (both Leicester), G Oghre (Bristol), G Pepper (Newcastle), E Roots, R Tuima (both Exeter).

Backs: C Atkinson (Gloucester), I Feyi-Waboso (Exeter), M Malins (Bristol), L Northmore (Harlequins), H Randall (Bristol), H Slade (Exeter), M Smith (Harlequins), F Steward, J Van Poortvliet (both Leicester).