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Captain Clark leads Saxons against Wolfhounds

23 January 2014

  • Clark “commands respect” and will lead from front at Kingsholm
  • Watson starts on wing in Saxons side with average age of 24
Calum Clark

Photo: Getty Images

Calum Clark will captain England Saxons in Saturday’s match against the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds at Gloucester (5pm, live on Sky Sports HD1).

The Northampton Saints flanker - making his first Saxons appearance - leads a side with an average age of 24 against the Wolfhounds, who were beaten 14-10 when the teams met in Galway last year.

Seven others in the starting line-up are making their debuts at this level: wing Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), centre Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), prop Alex Waller (Northampton Saints), hooker Jamie George (Saracens), lock Charlie Matthews and flanker Luke Wallace (both Harlequins), and No. 8 Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs).

Watson, 19, joins the Saxons after being temporarily released from England’s RBS 6 Nations squad to replace injured Bath teammate Semesa Rokoduguni (knee).

“Calum Clark has been a positive influence from the moment he arrived in camp, he commands the respect of the group and I’m sure he will lead from the front,” said Joe Lydon, RFU Head of International Player Development.

“Freddie Burns has also made an outstanding contribution in the time he’s been with us and he will be vice-captain at Kingsholm.”

There are only three full internationals in the Saxons line-up with eight caps between them in the shape of London Wasps scrum half Joe Simpson (one cap), Gloucester Rugby fly half Burns (three) and wing Charlie Sharples (four).

Lydon said: “The players in this squad have worked very hard in a short week and there will be a lot of tremendous talent from the Aviva Premiership on show this Saturday and against Scotland A in Glasgow on Friday week. They've been helped by an outstanding contribution from the staff and coaching team led by Jon Callard, Simon Hardy and Paul Gustard.

“Players can make an immediate step from the Saxons into the senior side but we’re also looking at the development of those players with the longer term potential to push for places in England’s World Cup squads in 2015, 2019 and beyond.

“First and foremost, though, we want to win against the Wolfhounds and Scotland A. Tthe recent history of these games tells us it will be hard work against two fiercely competitive teams.”

England Saxons
15 Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
13 Matt Hopper (Harlequins)
12 Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
11 Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
10 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
9 Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
1 Alex Waller (Northampton Saints)
2 Jamie George (Saracens)
3 Tom Mercey (Northampton Saints)
4 Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)
5 George Kruis (Saracens)
6 Calum Clark (Northampton Saints, captain)
7 Luke Wallace (Harlequins)
8 Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)

Replacements
16 Dave Ward (Harlequins)
17 Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
18 Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
19 Elliott Stooke (Gloucester Rugby)
20 Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints)
21 Dave Lewis (Exeter Chiefs)
22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
23 Rob Miller (Sale Sharks)