Bristol Bears hooker set for England call-up ahead of summer tour to New Zealand

Uncapped Bristol Bears hooker Gabriel Oghre is poised to be called up by England on Sunday according to the latest reports as head coach Steve Borthwick begins his preparations for the summer tour to New Zealand and Japan.

Oghre, who joined the Bears in the summer via stints at Leicester Tigers and Bordeaux Begles after the collapse of his former club Wasps, was tipped for international honours by England vice-captain Ellis Genge earlier this season, and The Telegraph report he is now set to be named in a squad of around 20 players from the six clubs not involved in the Gallagher Premiership play-offs that will convene at Pennyhill Park on Monday.

READ MORE: England tracking Bristol Bears’ signing of the season after he cleans up at club’s 2023/24 end-of-season awards

Oghre has been a regular for the Bears in 2023/24 as the club have transformed their season with a stunning run of results since January to climb the table and put themselves in contention to make the semi-finals on the last day of the season, thrashing Harlequins 53-28 to give themselves the best possible chance only to be denied by results elsewhere with Sale securing a trip to Bath on Saturday after a shock away win at Saracens.

While 25 year-old Oghre’s dynamic ball-carrying style of play has caught the eye of Borthwick, intriguingly he is still the second-choice hooker at Bristol with the criminally overlooked Harry Thacker Pat Lam’s go-to man when fully fit. Thacker finished the season as Bristol's top try scorer and also recorded the best lineout success rate in the Gallagher Premiership with a 95 percent success rate, finding a teammate from 96 of his 101 throws. Oghre is no slouch in that area though, sitting as the fourth-best with the darts in the league with a success rate of 92.2 percent.

Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall and full-back Max Malins are also set for recalls according to the publication, with loosehead prop Genge missing out after suffering a significant calf injury at The Stoop on the final day of the season.

Malins was part of Borthwick’s squad that came third at the Rugby World Cup in France earlier this season but a dip in form and knee injury saw him miss out during the Six Nations, however, he has refound his best form for the resurgent Bears as the tip of their spear in attack. Randall, nicknamed the ‘zip, zip man’ has repeatedly been the catalyst in Bristol’s attack from all areas offence and shone in England A’s 91-5 win over Portugal back in February to put him in contention for the summer tour.