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VIDEO - Youngs at heart of England team for Fiji

08 November 2012

  • Former centre to make first Test start at hooker
  • Launchbury and Vunipola also make matchday squad

Tom Youngs will make his England Test debut in Saturday’s QBE International against Fiji at Twickenham Stadium, KO 2.30pm.

The Leicester hooker, who played twice in midweek during the summer tour of South Africa, will start alongside Joe Marler and Dan Cole as England kick off their four-Test autumn series.

There are five changes to the starting XV from the final Test against the Springboks, including Charlie Sharples coming on to the right wing for Chris Ashton and Ugo Monye taking over from Ben Foden on the left.

Brad Barritt will partner Manusumoa Tulagi in the centre while Chris Robshaw returns as captain at open-side flanker for James Haskell.

England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said:  “This QBE International series will be a real marker of where we are as a squad. We are playing four back to back matches in four weeks against the top teams in the world and we are confident we can rise to the challenge. The foundations are in place, now it’s time for us to execute and deliver.

“Fiji is a good first Test for us and we can’t wait to play back at Twickenham. The atmosphere against Ireland back in March was superb and you can’t underestimate what it means to the players to have 82,000 people and the nation behind them.

“Congratulations to Tom Youngs, who has made a great transition from centre to hooker in a short period and deserves his chance, as do Joe Launchbury and Mako Vunipola, who we are pleased to be able to include in the squad.”

England team to face Fiji

15. Alex Goode (Saracens, 2 caps)
14. Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby, 2 caps)
13. Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 13 caps)
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 7 caps)
11. Ugo Monye (Harlequins, 13 caps)
10. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 50 caps)
9. Danny Care (Harlequins, 33 caps)

1. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 3 caps)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 0 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps)
4. Tom Palmer (London Wasps, 40 caps)
5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 8 caps)
6. Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 8 caps)
8. Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)

Replacements
16. David Paice (London Irish, 2 caps)
17. David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 19 caps)
18. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 0 caps)
19. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 0 caps)
20. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 9 caps)
21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 24 caps)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 8 caps)
23. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 7 caps)