June International Tours

England Saxons change three for South Africa A

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England Saxons have named a team with three changes for the second and final June Tour Match against South Africa A on Friday in George.

The Saxons won the first match 24-32 in Bloemfontein on the Highveld and they now travel to the coastal town of George for the match at Outeniqua Park.

Christian Wade comes off the bench to start, replacing the injured Alex Lewington, while Dave Ewers comes in to start at blindside flanker, with Don Armand moving to Number 8. Exeter Chiefs’ Sam Hill comes onto the bench.

Head Coach Ali Hepher said: “We’ve got to improve again. South Africa will come back with an improved performance and so we need to make a shift as big, if not bigger than they do. We’ve been working on certain things in training so that we can put more into the game and take our opportunities better when they come. We’ll be looking to be more clinical this week.”

On the squad changes he added: “Unfortunately Alex Lewington has picked up an injury and so is not available. There were a couple of big performances off the bench last time and so those players have pushed their cases to make the starting line-up.”

A strong Saxons first half last Friday, which saw tries from Alec Hepburn, Samesa Rokoduguni and Dan Robson, secured the first test win. However, South Africa A fought back in the second period hauling themselves to within a point before Ollie Devoto landed a final minute try to leave the final score 24-32.

Reflecting on the game, Hepher added: “We handled South Africa’s physicality well, where we need to improve is in our organisation and understanding, to be smart in the way we play. We’ve had more time to gel together as a side and I think we’re more than capable of matching and beating their physicality with the team we have got.”

The side travelled directly from Bloemfontein to Cape Town where they have since been training before they go on to George tomorrow for the final game of this two-match series.

England Saxons

15. Mike Haley (Sale Sharks)
14. Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby, 1 senior England cap)
13. Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12. Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby, 1 senior England cap)
11. Christian Wade (Wasps, 1 senior England cap)
10. Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks, 14 senior England caps)
9. Dan Robson (Wasps)

1. Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs)
2. Tommy Taylor (Sale Sharks, 1 senior England cap)
3. Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 16 senior England caps)
4. Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 23 senior England caps) (C)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
6. Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
7. Matt Kvesic (Gloucester, 3 senior England caps)
8. Donovan Armand (Exeter Chiefs)

16. George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)
17. Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)
18. Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps)
19. Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs)
20. Sam Jones (Wasps)
21. Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons)
22. Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
23. Sam James (Sale Sharks)

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