Saxons make four changes
June 10, 2011
Alex Goode did enough in training to force his way into the Saxons XV © Getty Images
England Saxons coach Stuart Lancaster has made four changes for Sunday's Churchill Cup clash with Tonga at Kingsholm.
Saracens' fullback Alex Goode, Gloucester's wing Charlie Sharples and London Irish duo Paul Hodgson and David Paice all come in to the side for the game that will decide who will meet Canada in the tournament final on June 18. Harlequins' Mike Brown, Newcastle's soon to be Leicester Tigers' scrum-half Micky Young and Harlequins' hooker Joe Gray drop to the bench as a result with Worcester winger Miles Benjamin missing out.
England impressed in their opening match with an 87-8 victory over the USA at Franklin's Gardens while the Tongan's also recorded an impressive victory over what transpired to be a poor USA outfit on Wednesday night.
Lancaster hopes games such as Sunday's against Tonga will provide his side the opportunity to express themselves and hopefully gain recognition from the senior England management.
"We've rotated our squad for this game to give other players opportunities to demonstrate their abilities as we see the tournament very much about development as well as being a competition in its own right," Lancaster said.
"A lot of players really put their hand up last week. It's tough on the likes of Miles Benjamin who misses out this time but I am sure he will get further opportunities during the final games of the competition.
"Tonga had a very good win against what was probably a stronger USA side than the one we faced and we're very aware of the physicality they'll bring on Sunday. They played with good shape in attack and defence against the USA. For us it's important that we improve our execution, particularly in the first half, and that this young England Saxons side measures up to the physical challenge."
England Saxons: Alex Goode (Saracens), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby), Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers), Topsy Ojo (London Irish), Rory Clegg (Harlequins), Paul Hodgson (London Irish); Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors), David Paice (London Irish), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Dave Attwood (Gloucester Rugby), James Gaskell (Sale Sharks), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers, captain)
Replacements: Joe Gray (Harlequins), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Graham Kitchener (Worcester Warriors), Jamie Gibson (London Irish), Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Mike Brown (Harlequins)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September