Former Kiwi to play rugby for England

Shontayne Hape (with ball)  playing for Bath in the Heineken Cup. Photo / Getty Images
Shontayne Hape (with ball) playing for Bath in the Heineken Cup. Photo / Getty Images

Former New Zealand rugby league international Shontayne Hape was today named in England's squad for the Six Nations rugby union tournament.

The 28-year-old Hape, uncapped in union, was joined in the 32-man squad selected by England manager Martin Johnson by another former rugby league player who has yet to make his England debut in Northampton's in-form wing Chris Ashton.

Hape played international league for New Zealand between 2004 and 2006, having making his first grade debut for the Auckland Warriors in 2000. He subsequently went on to play for the Bradford Bulls.

For the last two seasons, he has been playing rugby at centre for Bath in the Guinness Premiership and the Heineken Cup.

Backs Danny Cipriani and Shane Geraghty missed out on selection for the senior England squad and were included instead in the second string Saxons party.

Nick Easter, Delon Armitage, Riki Flutey and Toby Flood, who all missed England's disappointing November campaign through injury, were though included in the senior squad.

England, who managed just one try in three Tests in November, during a win over Argentina that fell between defeats by Australia and New Zealand, begin their Six Nations campaign at home to Wales on February 6.

England squad

Backs: Delon Armitage, Chris Ashton, Matt Banahan, Danny Care, Mark Cueto, Harry Ellis, Toby Flood, Ben Foden, Riki Flutey, Shontayne Hape, Dan Hipkiss, Paul Hodgson, Ugo Monye, Mathew Tait, Jonny Wilkinson.

Forwards: Steffon Armitage, Steve Borthwick, Jordan Crane, Tom Croft, Louis Deacon, Nick Easter, Dylan Hartley, James Haskell, Courtney Lawes, Lee Mears, Lewis Moody, Tim Payne, Simon Shaw, Andrew Sheridan, Steve Thompson, Julian White, David Wilson.

- AFP

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