New-look England set to tackle Fiji
November 8, 2012
Leicester hooker Tom Youngs is set for his Test debut against Fiji on Saturday © Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster has named a fresh-looking side to tackle Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday that includes a Test debut for Leicester hooker Tom Youngs.
Youngs starts in one of five changes to the side that started England's third Test draw with South Africa in June with first-choice hooker Dylan Hartley sidelined with a knee injury. Elsewhere, Harlequins' Chris Robshaw returns to the line-up and will captain the side from openside having recovered from a hand injury with Wasps' James Haskell making way.
Gloucester's Charlie Sharples gets the nod on the right wing with Saracens' Chris Ashton suspended while Ugo Monye will make his first international appearance in over two years with the Quins speedster filling the void on the other wing left by Northampton's Ben Foden who is sidelined with an ankle injury. Saracens centre Brad Barritt also returns to the England midfield with London Irish's Jonathan Joseph out with an ankle problem.
Youngs, who played twice in midweek during the recent tour of South Africa, will start alongside Quins' Joe Marler and Leciester team-mate Dan Cole. Tigers lock Geoff Parling will partner Wasps' Tom Palmer in the second row while Exeter's Tom Johnson retains his place at blindside. Leicester's Thomas Waldrom is favoured ahead of Gloucester's Ben Morgan at No.8.
Leicester fly-half Toby Flood and Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care continue their half-back combination and will be tasked with guiding a relatively inexperienced starting side that boasts just 215 Test caps.
Two further players could make their international debuts off the bench in the form of Wasps forward Joe Launchbury and Saracens prop Mako Vunipola. They are joined on the replacements bench by Northampton's Tom Wood who returns to the England fold after 14 injury-plagued months.
England Head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "This QBE International series will be a real marker of where we are as a squad. We are playing four back to back matches in four weeks against the top teams in the world and we are confident we can rise to the challenge. The foundations are in place, now it's time for us to execute and deliver.
"Fiji is a good first Test for us and we can't wait to play back at Twickenham. The atmosphere against Ireland back in March was superb and you can't underestimate what it means to the players to have 82,000 people and the nation behind them.
"Congratulations to Tom Youngs, who has made a great transition from centre to hooker in a short period and deserves his chance, as do Joe Launchbury and Mako Vunipola, who we are pleased to be able to include in the squad."
England: Alex Goode; Charlie Sharples, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, Ugo Monye; Toby Flood, Danny Care; Joe Marler, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole; Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Tom Johnson, Chris Robshaw (capt), Thomas Waldrom
Replacements: David Paice, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Joe Launchbury, Tom Wood, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Mike Brown.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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