The news casts further doubt over the England career of Zach Mercer

Zach Mercer and Ben Youngs have been called up to play for the Barbarians against Fiji on June 22 at Twickenham, the same day England are due to take on Japan in Tokyo.

The news casts further doubt over Mercer’s international career, at least in the short term. The No. 8 joined Gloucester ahead of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership season after impressing at Montpellier in France’s Top 14 but was left out of Steve Borthwick’s final World Cup squad and didn’t get selected for the Six Nations.

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The 26-year-old also didn’t feature for England A on Sunday in a 91-5 rout of Portugal at Welford Road.

Mercer admitted it was “tough” to be overlooked for the Six Nations and that he was “done” with England for the time being.

While that door might be shut, he is looking forward to wearing the Barbarians colours once more and getting to play at Twickenham again.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be involved with the Barbarians again,” Mercer said. “I loved the opportunity to represent them in November 2022 against the All Blacks XV.

“It was incredibly special to pull on that jersey for the first time and we were on the right end of the result as well. Moments like that are the reason you play rugby, so it’s really exciting for me to play again this summer in what should be a brilliant match against Fiji.

“It will be two teams that want to play fast, exciting rugby. It should be an unmissable afternoon of rugby.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Twickenham again. I’ve played there a few times now, but the stadium still has the same aura for me and every time you get to run out there is a privilege.”

Alongside Mercer, former England scrum-half Ben Youngs has also been added to the Barbarians squad for the Fiji clash.

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Youngs retired from international rugby as England’s most capped player after Borthwick’s side beat Argentina to secure third place in last year’s Rugby World Cup. It was his 127th cap for his country and he will add a wealth of experience to the Barbarians cause.

For England, once the Six Nations wraps up, the game against Japan and former head coach Eddie Jones is next and is to be a fiery affair.

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