Blues star Piers Francis selected to England squad for tour of Argentina

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NZN

Blues utility back Piers Francis has been named in the England team to play Argentina next month.

The Kent-born player, in his second year with the Blues, is leaving at the end of the season to play for Northampton Saints in the English Premiership.

Francis will be available for the Blues match against the Reds in Samoa on June 2, then will join Eddie Jones's 31-man England squad.

Jones said Francis' selection was possible after confirmation from the English Premiership of his signing.

"He's been approved by the Premiership," he said. "He's qualified for England. His contract is done and he's been approved. That's all I have to worry about."

Blues coach Tana Umaga says it is unfortunate Francis will miss the Blues' game against the British and Irish Lions on June 7.

"But we will welcome him back for Super Rugby in July," he said.

"It's great news for Piers, and we're really pleased that his strong form for the Blues has provided the platform for him to be considered for selection for England."

Francis, 26, shifted to New Zealand in his late teens and has played NPC rugby for Auckland, Waikato and Counties Manukau.

A reliable goalkicker, he has scored 56 points in 15 Blues appearances.

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