- England Counties name side to take on Belgium in Tubize
- Chris Wearmouth and Tom Stradwick retain starting spots
Photo: RFU Archive
Chris Wearmouth and Tom Stradwick are the only players to retain their starting positions from Wednesday’s victory over Belgium A as England Counties field a new look side to play Belgium in Tubize tomorrow (June 16) kick off 2pm local time/ 1pm BST.
The visitors recorded a convincing 78-0 win in the warm-up fixture but expect a tough test against a Belgium team who are currently 24th in the IRB World Rankings.
Head Coach Jan Bonney said: “There were some very difficult decisions to make when selecting this squad and a number of players are very unfortunate not to make the starting line-up. There is however a really good atmosphere in the camp and the excitement is building for this match.”
Ollie Thomas (North Midlands) takes over the kicking duties at fly-half and Jim Wigglesworth (Yorkshire) who recently toured with the England Counties U20s in Georgia, starts on the wing.
Adam Kettle and James Lindfield come into the back row to earn their first caps – a long awaited start for open-side flanker Lindfield who travelled with the Counties to East Africa last year but departed early due to injury.
Northumberland hooker Matt Hall returns to captain the side and steps up from Wednesday’s bench, along with Robbie Kalbraier and Mark George, to reunite the front row from February's victory over France Federale.
In a backline reshuffle two-time try scorer against Belgium A, Sean Taylor moves from full-back to wing and Chris Johnson partners Rhys Owen in the centres, replacing Nielson Webber who put forward a strong case for selection but misses out with injury.
England Counties v Belgium
15. Chris Harris (Tynedale & Northumberland)
14. Sean Taylor (Preston & Lancashire)
13. Chris Johnson (Fylde & Lancashire)
12. Rhys Owen (Loughborough & North Midlands)
11. Jim Wigglesworth (Cambridge & Yorkshire)
10. Ollie Thomas (Moseley & North Midlands)
9. Matt Heeks (Rosslyn Park & Eastern Counties)
1. Robbie Kalbraier (Blaydon & Northumberland)
2. Matt Hall (Blaydon & Northumberland) (CAPTAIN)
3. Mark George (Stourbridge & Gloucestershire)
4. Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon & Durham)
5. Ben Hilton (Launceston & Cornwall)
6. Tom Stradwick (Blackheath & Kent)
7. James Lindfield (Blackheath & Kent)
8. Adam Kettle (Doncaster & Cheshire)
16. Darren Jacques (Redruth & Cornwall)
17. Mike Hill (Birmingham Bees and North Midlands)
18. Brett McNamee (Old Albanian & Hertfordshire)
19. Royce Cadman (Hull Ionians & Yorkshire)
20. Harry Broadbent (Caldy & Cheshire)
21. Chris Hallam (Doncaster & Yorkshire)
22. Heath Stevens (Plymouth & East Midlands)
23. Nevaro Codlin (Cinderford & Gloucestershire)