Kieran Brookes has spoken of his delight after being named in Stuart Lancaster’s 30-man England squad to tour New Zealand.
The 23-year-old Newcastle Falcons tight-head is one of seven uncapped players in the England fold with the first Test taking place on 7 June.
“I’m immensely proud to be included in the squad to tour New Zealand and I’m excited at the prospect of playing alongside and against a string of world class individuals,” said Brookes, whose previous international exploits extend to England Saxons.
“It has been a long hard season at Newcastle but the main objective was to stay up and we did, and from a personal point of view I’ve been reasonably pleased with my form this term.
“The experience of touring New Zealand this summer will be invaluable for my development and will set me in good stead for the start of the new Aviva Premiership campaign,” he added.
Brookes left Newcastle for Leicester Tigers in 2011 but re-joined the northeasterners towards the end of the 2012-13 season under Dean Richards.
“I’m very grateful to Dean, who gave me the chance to kick-start my career after a tricky spell at Leicester,” said Brookes.
He added: “I’ve loved every minute of my time here in Newcastle since coming back and long may it continue.”
England head coach Lancaster, who watched Brookes in action at Kingston Park on the final day of the season, said: “We are excited about the squad we are taking to New Zealand and, while there continues to be challenges in selection, we will be well and truly ready for the first Test. It has a been good few days training and great to be able to work with a larger group of players in the lead up to the Barbarians game and the tour.
“With the Barbarians game and the Aviva Premiership final to come, we will make our final selection once we know the availability of all players. This group will fly out on the Monday following the Barbarians game.
“As is often the case there are some players unavailable through injury and it is a shame that recently both George Ford (Bath Rugby) and Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers) have had to withdraw due to shoulder and knee injuries sustained towards the end of the season.
“Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) is being treated for a hamstring injury and will continue his recovery in England before a final decision is made on whether he will join us in New Zealand on the Monday flight post Aviva final and Barbarians game.”
England squad: Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (London Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Dave Ward (Harlequins), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), James Haskell (London Wasps), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Marland Yarde (London Irish), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors)