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Hipkiss called up for England tour to NZ

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Tigers centre Dan Hipkiss has been called into the senior England squad to tour New Zealand next month.

Hipkiss replaces Danny Cipriani of London Wasps, who has been ruled out through injury.

Having made his England debut in the World Cup warm-up match against Wales, the 25-year-old now has six international caps to his name. He joins fellow Tigers Ben Kay and Tom Croft in a 32-man squad for the two-Test tour, with the party leaving for New Zealand on June 2.

“I’m really happy to be involved, although it was a bit of a surprise,” said Hipkiss. “I thought that England might take another No10 or 12 but, looking at the balance of the squad, I think I can fit in.

“I can’t help but feel for Danny and the injury he has suffered and my thoughts are with him. However, this gives me a chance to tour New Zealand in what will be a very tough and challenging environment.

“I’ve played in New Zealand twice in Sevens tournaments and it’s a great place to play. As a test, there’s nowhere harder to go and play. Looking at their squad, even with the players they’ve lost, it’s an incredibly strong group. As a player you want those kind of challenges.”

England Team Manager Martin Johnson CBE said: “Rob Andrew, the coaches and I discussed suitable candidates for the tour yesterday and we all agreed there was good cover at fly half with Charlie Hodgson, Olly Barkley and Toby Flood and so we decided to go with Dan. He gives us further options at centre and he has been playing well for Leicester Tigers in recent weeks and deserves his chance.”