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Hopper called into Saxons squad
ESPNscrum Staff
January 23, 2012
Matt Hopper dives over to score for Harlequins, Harlequins v Gloucester, The Stoop, London, England, January 14, 2012
Hopper has shone for Quins this season © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Matt Hopper
Teams: England | Harlequins

Harlequins centre Matt Hopper has been called into the England Saxons squad ahead of their match with the Ireland Wolfhounds at Sandy Park on Saturday.

The 26-year-old has been one of the finds of the season in the Aviva Premiership following his summer move from the Cornish Pirates. With George Lowe injured for Conor O'Shea's side, Hopper has filled the void alongside Jordan Turner-Hall with aplomb. Hopper replaces Henry Trinder for the Saxons after the Gloucester centre joined up with the senior England squad.

"I'm obviously really happy to get the call," Hopper told the BBC. "It's been a bit of a whirlwind over the last few months. I'll have a lot of family and friends watching and playing at Exeter is a nice bonus for me. Just to be part of it is really something."

Hopper is joined in the Saxons by London Irish scrum-half Paul Hodgson, Gloucester prop Rupert Harden, Leicester Tigers lock Ed Slater and Sale back-row Kearnan Myall. Hodgson and Harden are injury replacements for Harlequins' scrum-half Karl Dickson and Sale prop Henry Thomas respectively. Slater and Myall step in for Tigers' Geoff Parling and Bath's Dave Attwood who will join the senior squad in Leeds this week.

And England coach Jon Callard has been impressed by Hopper. Callard said: "He's done well every time I've seen him and really deserves his chance. This squad has got a great deal of longevity. They've all got something to offer to the national team, whether they're coming down from the senior squad, or they've been injured, or if they're young players going up. Everyone's got a contribution to make and it's all about the future."

England Saxons squad:

Forwards:
Chris Brooker (Harlequins), Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints), Matt Garvey (London Irish), James Gaskell (Sale Sharks), Joe Gray (Harlequins), Rupert Harden (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors), Kearnan Myall (Sale Sharks), George Robson (Harlequins), Andy Saull (Saracens), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby)

Backs:
Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby), Delon Armitage (London Irish), Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby), Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Matt Hopper (Harlequins), Paul Hodgson (London Irish), Ryan Lamb (Northampton Saints), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers), Micky Young (Leicester Tigers)

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