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Four changes to England Counties side

21 February 2013

  • England Counties make four changes for Friday clash
  • Team looking to get weekend's action off to a winning start
England Counties player Ben West

Photo: Inpho

Ben West makes his first England Counties start against French Federale at Ealing Trailfinders tomorrow (7pm).

The Cinderford lock is one of four changes to the team that fought back from 20-8 against Ireland Club XV two weeks ago only to lose 30-20 in extra time.

The Counties are the first of five England teams (Students, U20s, Women and Seniors) to take on French opposition this weekend and will be hoping to get the red rose off to a winning start.

In a back row reshuffle, Billy Johnson, who scored in all three matches during the Counties’ tour to East Africa, steps up from the bench to start at six.

Ealing’s Sam Shires has the benefit of real home advantage and moves to No. 8 and Robbie Kalbraier gets the nod over Tom Fidler at prop.

New squad members Chris Wearmouth and JP Attlee, who replace the unavailable Joe Burton (Loughborough Students) and James Inglis (Esher), start on the bench.

Head Coach Jan Bonney said: “It was a difficult call because all the players who came on against Ireland really impressed and that showed in an improved second half performance. Any of them could have started tomorrow; we had to find the right blend to take on France.

“The squad was disappointed with the last result. We didn’t reach our full potential but the players have an opportunity to put that right. It was the first time some of them had played international rugby and now they have a better understanding of its pace and intensity.

“We trained with the England Students this morning, which was great for both teams to run their patterns and iron out any issues in a competitive session. We wish them all the best against France Universities tomorrow night.”

England Counties v France Fédérale, Ealing Trailfinders Sports Ground (7pm)
Tickets available on the gate or call 020 8799 0404 or email info@ealingrugby.co.uk

15 Peter Hodgkinson (Ealing)
14 Ollie Marchon (Old Albanian)
13 Jack Adams (Cinderford)
12 Scott Barrow (Fylde)
11 Nev Edwards (Rosslyn Park)
10 Rory Teague (Blackheath, captain)
9 Matt Heeks (Rosslyn Park)

1 Robbie Kalbraier (Blaydon)
2 Matt Hall (Blaydon)
3 Mark George (Stourbridge)
4 Will Warden (Richmond)
5 Ben West (Cinderford)
6 Billy Johnson (Old Albanian)
7 Dave Allen (Blackheath)
8 Sam Shires (Ealing)

Replacements
16 David Dickinson (Tynedale)
17 Tom Fidler (Cambridge)
18 Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon)
19 JP Attlee (Richmond)
20 Lewis Barker (Coventry)
21 Chris Elder (Esher)
22 Will Hurrell (Stourbridge)