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Rugby Union: Jonathan Joseph and Ed Slater to Debut for England Saxons

London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph, and Leicester Tigers lock, Ed Slater, are to debut for England Saxons in their match with Scotland A at Galashiels on the evening of Friday 3rd February 2012, it was announced on Wednesday.

England Saxons have named eight changes to the side which defeated the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds 23-17 on Saturday, including the addition of new players Joseph and Slater.

Joseph and winger Jonny May replace Matt Hopper and Matt Banaham who rejoined their club sides Harlequins and Bath Rugby respectively earlier this week.

Nick Abendanon steps in at full back for the suspended Delon Armitage, while Ryan Lamb will fill the ten shirt in for Freddie Burns.

Ed Slater is replacing the Exiles’ Matt Garvey in second row, while two other changes in the front eight are Nick Wood and Chris Brooker’s addition for Matt Mullan and Joe Gray. Tom Johnson will play number 8 instead of Thomas Waldrom.

Speaking on the team selection, England Saxons coach Jon Callard told:

“We need to back up that performance against the Wolfhounds by getting it right away from home against Scotland this week.”

“The endeavour and energy we showed last week at Exeter was first class but not everything was absolutely spot on and we need to improve our accuracy and execution.”

“We always planned to make changes over the course of these two games and it means there are more chances for those who’ve been playing well in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe this season.”

“As we saw last week, Thomas Waldrom and Matt Banahan stepped back up to train with the senior squad after 80 minutes for the Saxons so the potential opportunities for this group are very clear.”

New addition Ed Slater, 23,  has made 43 first team appearances for Leicester since signing for the midlands outfit in 2010 from Nottingham. 20 year old Jonathan Joeseph has played 34 times for London Irish, and featured for the England Under 20 side that made it to the IRB Junior World Championship final in Italy in 2011.

England Saxons Starting XV – to Play Scotland A on Feb 3 2012

  • 15 Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
  • 14 Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
  • 13 Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
  • 12 Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers)
  • 11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
  • 10 Ryan Lamb (Northampton Saints)
  • 9 Ben Spencer (Saracens)
  • 1 Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby)
  • 2 Chris Brooker (Harlequins)
  • 3 Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints)
  • 4 Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
  • 5 George Robson (Harlequins)
  • 6 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks, captain)
  • 7 Andy Saull (Saracens)
  • 8 Tom Johnson (Exeter)

Replacements

  • 16 Joe Gray (Harlequins)
  • 17 Rupert Harden (Gloucester Rugby)
  • 18 Kearnan Myall (Sale Sharks)
  • 19 David Seymour (Sale Sharks)
  • 20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
  • 21 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
  • 22 Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors)

Scotland A v England Saxons will kick off at 19:30 GMT in Galashiels, on Friday 3rd February 2012.

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