Harlequins hooker Dave Ward could be the beneficiary of an injury crisis for the second time this season – but this time he will be coming to the rescue of his country.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster this week confirmed he will be without the services of British & Irish Lion Tom Youngs for the summer tour to New Zealand due to family reasons, while Bath’s Rob Webber is an injury concern.

Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley could miss the first Test with his side hoping to be involved in the Premiership final, leaving Lancaster short.

Ward started the campaign as third choice number two behind Joe Gray and Rob Buchanan.

But long-term injuries to his rivals – and a succession of man of the match performances – have seen the 28-year-old England Saxon emerge as director of rugby Conor O’Shea’s first choice in the front row.