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Final African Scene for Counties

15 June 2012

  • England Counties name side to take on the Elgon Warriors in Nairobi
  • "It has been a real honour to tour East Africa" – Jan Bonney

England Counties have made three changes for their final African challenge against the Elgon Warriors at the KRFU Grounds, Nairobi tomorrow (1600 Kenyan time). 

Bonney has called for the performance to reflect the quality of the tour

Photo: RFU Archive

Stefan Liebenberg comes in at No 9 place of Harry Peck and Jack Smales gets the nod at 14 as Chris Briers moves to outside centre for the injured Tom Wheatcroft.  Jim Wigglesworth and David Dickinson who missed out last week come onto the bench.

Head Coach Jan Bonney has called for the players to put in a performance which reflects a successful two weeks in Uganda and Kenya, during which the tourists have won both matches and taken part in an extensive outreach programme in schools and orphanages.

We need to start like we finished – Bonney

All 26 players have impressed in training and during the victories over the Ugandan Barbarians (66-13) and the Elgon Warriors (39-5), making selection particularly difficult for Bonney and Assistant Coach Steve Pope.

Bonney said: “Eleven players have won their first England Counties’ caps during the tour and everyone has proudly represented the shirt both on and off the field.  To select 22 from a squad in which everyone has played such a key part is tough.”

The Warriors are made up of the best players from Kenya and Uganda and showed what they are capable of last Saturday in Kampala when they held England to 6-5 in the first half. 

Counties players during one of many outreach sessions

Photo:RFU Archive

And Bonney added: “The Elgon Warriors are a fast a physical side and in Uganda we saw what they are capable of.  They have also made changes, bringing in more Kenyan players for this Nairobi leg.  We need to ensure that we focus on our own game, play our patterns and start this match like we finished the last.

“It has been a real honour to tour East Africa and I know that some of the experiences the players have had through coaching the children in the communities has been something that they will never forget. 

“We want our performance tomorrow to show how close the players have become and how much the tour has meant to everyone involved.  I’m sure that the crowd will be just as loud and impressive this week and it will be a great game of rugby for them.”

The match is televised across Africa on Supersport 9. 

England Counties (v Elgon Warriors, Nairobi)

15. Peter Hodgkinson (Ealing & Cheshire)
14. Jack Smales  (Nevers & Northumberland)
13. Chris Briers (Fylde & Lancashire)
12. Steve Hamilton (Unattached & Yorkshire)
11. Phil Chesters (Ealing & Devon)
10. Rory Teague (Cinderford & Gloucestershire)
9. Stefan Liebenberg (Old Albanians & Hertfordshire)

1.  James Cleverly (Blackheath & Kent)
2. Sam Wilkes (Cinderford & Gloucestershire)
3. Craig Voisey (Moseley & North Mids)
4. Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon & Durham);
5. Richard Boyle (Newcastle Falcons & Northumberland)
6. Billy Johnson (Old Albanians & Hertfordshire)
7. Ben Pons (Moseley & North Mids)
8. Rob Baldwin  (Wharfedale & Yorkshire)

Replacements:

16. Joe Bonner (Blackheath & Kent)
17. Jared Saunders (Saracens & Hertfordshire)
18. David Dickinson (Tynedale & Northumberland)
19. Gareth Rawlings (Fylde & Lancashire)
20. Harry Peck (Tynedale & Northumberland)
21. Toby Howley-Berridge (Unattached & Eastern Counties) 
22. Jim Wigglesworth (Hull & Yorkshire)