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Crane to skipper Saxons

Leicester back-row forward Jordan Crane will captain England Saxons in Friday night's clash against Ireland Wolfhounds.

Crane has been appointed skipper of a team containing five Saxons debutants in Wasps back Elliot Daly, Leicester fly-half George Ford and the Saracens trio of Joel Tomkins, George Kruis and Will Fraser.

And there are a further four Saxons newcomers on the bench, including Bath's recruit from rugby league Kyle Eastmond.

Ford, who is expected to sign for Bath in the near future, has been handed the number 10 shirt, with experienced Saracens operator Richard Wigglesworth as his half-back partner.

And Crane is among six senior England internationals in the matchday 23, being joined by Wigglesworth, Paul Doran-Jones, Jordan Turner-Hall, Joe Simpson and Matt Mullan.

"This is a dynamic young side with an average age of less than 24," Saxons head coach Jon Callard said, ahead of the game in Galway. "And the players have a chance to show that they can play a major part of the future of England rugby over the coming years.

"The blend of forward power and pace in the back line makes it an exciting one to be involved with. We are facing an experienced Irish side in this opening game, and the challenge is to step up and deliver a high-quality performance."

After facing the Wolfhounds, England Saxons will meet Scotland A at Newcastle's Kingston Park on Friday week.

Team: E Daly (Wasps); C Wade (Wasps), J Tomkins (Saracens), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), T Biggs (Bath); G Ford (Leicester), R Wigglesworth (Saracens); N Wood (Gloucester), J Gray (Harlequins), P Doran-Jones (Northampton), G Kitchener (Leicester), G Robson (Harlequins), G Kruis (Saracens), W Fraser (Saracens), J Crane (Leicester, capt).

Replacements: R Buchanan (Harlequins), M Mullan (Worcester), S Knight (Gloucester), E Slater (Leicester), J Gibson (London Irish), J Simpson (Wasps), G Lowe (Harlequins), K Eastmond (Bath).


From Belfast Telegraph