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Barritt makes England debut

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Six Nations on 2 Feb 2012 at 16:18
Tagged with : , , , , ,

England on Thursday named three new caps in the starting team to face Scotland in Saturday’s Six Nations match at Murrayfield.

Saracens midfielder Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell will form a new centre pairing at international level, while Northampton Saints’ Phil Dowson makes his debut at No.8.

Article Courtesy of Rugby 365

Farrell and Barritt are England’s first uncapped centred pairing since 2002 and first in the Championship since 1969, when John Spencer and David Duckham played in a 19-17 defeat away to Ireland.

The match 22 sees five more uncapped players on the replacements’ bench – Rob Webber (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ben Morgan (Scarlets), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints) and Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins).

Head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We have been impressed with how the whole group has come together in the last 10 days and we have done a lot of work on and off the field.

“Now is the time to turn all that into a performance against Scotland that we can all be proud of. It is a massive challenge – Murrayfield, the first game of the Six Nations – but one we are relishing.”

Recalled flyhalf Charlie Hodgson, who will be inside his Saracens teammates, is the most experienced player in the starting side with 36 caps.

But Hodgson, back following the international retirement of England great Jonny Wilkinson and the absence through injury of Toby Flood, will be making his first Test start for four years.

Premiership champions Saracens provide four of England’s backs, with David Strettle on the left wing.

Seven of England’s starting XV go into the game with 10 caps or fewer, with Harlequins flank Chris Robshaw captaining the team in only his second Test.

In all, there are eight uncapped players in the matchday 22, with Wasps hooker Rob Webber, Leicester lock Geoff Parling, Scarlets No.8 Ben Morgan, Northampton scrumhalf Lee Dickson and Harlequins centre Jordan Turner-Hall all on the bench.

Scotland, who named their team earlier this week, have a huge advantage in experience over England with their starting line-up boasting 501 caps, compared to the 236 won by Lancaster’s men.

The England team features 10 changes from the side that beat Scotland in the World Cup in October, a defeat that ended the Scots’ record of always reaching the tournament’s knockout stages, and nine from the subsequent quarterfinal loss to France.

World Cup-winning trio Wilkinson, Steve Thompson and Lewis Moody, England’s captain in New Zealand, have all retired from international rugby, while lock Courtney Lawes and centre Manu Tuilagi are injured along with Flood.

England have not won at Murrayfield for eight years, losing twice and drawing once in their last three visits to Edinburgh.

England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Phil Dowson, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Geoff Parling, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Jordan Turner-Hall, 22 Mike Brown.

Date: Saturday, February 4
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 17.00 (17.00 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO: Tony Redmond (Ireland)


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