Bob Birtwell flies the flag for Lancashire with England Counties

England Counties have named a 26-man squad for the upcoming tour of Spain that kicks-off on 31st May.

The 26 members are spread across 15 Counties and features 10 players returning from their internationals while 16 members are called up for the first time.

The Counties are currently on six-match winning streak with their last defeat coming against Scotland Club XV on 26th February 2016. Since then, they have registered wins over France Federale XV, British Columbia Bears, Prairie Wolf Pack and Ontario Blues last year while also winning games against Scotland Club XV and Ireland Club International this year.

Keith Laughlin will once again continue to lead the side that will play Euskarians in San Sebastian and Spain XV in Guadalajara on 31st May and 3rd June respectively.

England Counties team manager Matt Long is wary of the challenge that lies ahead in Spain.

“We’ve worked hard with representatives from each of the counties to select the side and the process has run very smoothly,” said Long.

“I’m expecting a physical tour. Given we wanted a full Test against the international side, I think we’ll get one.

“We’ve done a bit of research, and we know Spain are improving, their world ranking is proof of that. We’re going to have a hard test.”

England Counties squad:

Hayden King (LH) (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire), Tom Mantell (LH) (Maccesfield and Cheshire), Alex Giltrow (TH) (Clifton and Somerset), Matt Collins (TH) (Ampthill and East Midlands), Neil Sweeney (Esher and Surrey), Fran Entressangle (Huddersfield and Yorkshire), Nile Dacres (Coventr and North Midlands), Joe Makin (Hull Ionians and Yorkshire), Robert Birtwell (Sedgley Park and Lancashire), Keith Laughlin (Blaydon and Northumberland) (captain), Ed Milne (Rosslyn Park and Surrey), Harry Bate (Old Albanians and Hertordshire), Jack Preece (Coventry and Gloucestershire), Tom Baldwin (Blackheath and Kent)

Pete White (Coventry and East Midlands), Dave Brazier (Coventry and North Midlands), Jack Lavin (Caldy and Cheshire), Rhys Hayes (Caldy and Cheshire), Tom Wheatcroft (Coventry and Leicestershire), Albert Portsmouth (Cambridge and Eastern Counties), Robin Wedlake (Plymouth and Cornwall), Sam Baker (Ampthill and East Midlands), James Stokes (Coventry and Warwickshire), Peter Swatkins (Sheffield and Yorkshire), Matthew Shepherd (Plymouth and Cornwall), Max Trimble (Coventry and Warwickshire)

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