June International Tours

Preview: England Saxons v NZ Maori



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With Nick Abendanon’s call up to England coach Brian Ashton’s senior squad in South Africa, England Saxons coaches Jim Mallinder and Dorian West have made just one change to the starting line-up ahead of the Churchill Cup final against the New Zealand Maori on Saturday.

Abendanon’s call-up makes him the fourth England Saxon to join the senior squad in as many weeks and Mallinder is pleased his performance has been rewarded.

“I’m absolutely delighted for Nick,” said Mallinder.

“I thought the way he performed against Scotland A on Monday – and the form he’s shown all season for Bath – would have put him in Brian’s reckoning and I’m really pleased his chance has come a little sooner than expected.

“This is exactly what England Saxons is all about.”

England head coach, Brian Aston, reiterated Mallinder’s message.

“I have said all along that there is a clear pathway between the Saxons and the senior team and the squad I have here in South Africa and the recent call-ups I’ve made clearly illustrate that point,” said Ashton.

In Abendanon’s absence, Danny Cipriani, the talented young London Wasps playmaker, will move to full-back with Olly Barkley stepping in one position to fill the number ten shirt.

“To help us build on Monday’s performance [against Scotland A] we’ve tried to minimise the disruption to the backline,” said Mallinder.

“Danny has been playing full-back for his club since last December. He’s very at home there, as his performance in the Heineken Cup final showed.

“Olly is a very experienced player and will comfortably slot in at fly-half.”

Barkley’s inside centre position will be taken by Nils Mordt (London Irish), who has already made two appearances there from the bench, with Wasps’ Ayoola Erinle called up onto the bench.

Forwards coach Dorian West has stuck with the same pack that outmuscled the more experienced Scottish forwards in England’s 18-3 victory at Twickenham on Monday.

England Saxons: 15 Danny Cipriani (London Wasps), 14 Paul Sackey (London Wasps), 13 Kevin Sorrell (Saracens), 12 Nils Mordt (London Irish), 11 Tom Voyce (London Wasps), 10 Olly Barkley (Bath Rugby), 9 Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks), 8 Phil Dowson (Newcastle Falcons), 7 Will Skinner (NEC Harlequins), 6 James Haskell (London Wasps), 5 Jim Evans (NEC Harlequins), 4 Richard Blaze (Worcester Warriors), 3 John Brooks (Northampton Saints), 2 David Paice (London Irish), 1 Neal Hatley (London Irish, captain)
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson (Newcastle Falcons), 17 Jack Forster (Gloucester Rugby), 18 Tom Mercey (Saracens), 19 Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), 20 Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers), 21 Lee Dickson (Newcastle Falcons), 22 Ayoola Erinle (London Wasps)

New Zealand Maori: tbc

Date: Saturday, 2 June
Venue: Twickenham Stadium
Kick-off: 16:30 (15:30 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland))
Touch judges: James Jones (Wales), Andy MacPherson (Scotland)
Television Match Official: Geoff Warren (England)
Assessor: Paul Bridgman (England)
Timekeeper: Bob Ockenden (England)
Citing Commissioner: Geraint Edwards (Wales)


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