Hape to debut against Wallabies
June 10, 2010
Shontayne Hape will make his England debut against Australia © Getty Images
Shontayne Hape will make his Test debut on Saturday as England take on Australia in Perth.
The former New Zealand rugby league international has been named at inside centre for the showdown, in which England are chasing their first win on Australian soil since the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.
Hape partners Gloucester veteran Mike Tindall in midfield in the absence of Riki Flutey, while Jonny Wilkinson has been unable to force his way back into the starting XV. Toby Flood retains the No.10 jersey, outside scrum-half Danny Care.
There are three further changes to the side that narrowly lost to France in the final game of the Six Nations, with Stade Francais lock Tom Palmer and Leeds-bound hooker Steve Thompson both returning. The final change comes in the back-row, where British & Irish Lions flanker Tom Croft returns alongside skipper Lewis Moody and No.8 Nick Easter.
"I have been very impressed with him. He's a very smart carrier with the ball in hand. He's one of those guys that seems to have a bit more time than most, he's very composed," England manager Johnson said.
"Shontayne and Mike are both very skilful players. Shontayne is very direct, he has a very good passing game and he is a good attacker. Shontayne has been in the squad since January. He missed out on getting a game in the Six Nations with illness and we didn't get a chance to get him in after that."
England: B Foden (Northampton); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), M Tindall (Gloucester), S Hape (Bath), C Ashton (Northampton); T Flood (Leicester), D Care (Harlequins); T Payne (Wasps), S Thompson (Brive), D Cole (Leicester), S Shaw (Wasps), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Croft (Leicester), L Moody (Leicester, capt), N Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: G Chuter (Leicester), D Wilson (Bath), C Lawes (Northampton), J Haskell (Stade Francais), B Youngs (Leicester), J Wilkinson (Toulon), M Tait (Sale Sharks)
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