Burgess starts for England Saxons against Ireland

England Saxons head coach Jon Callard has named his team to play the Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork on Friday night with Sam Burgess making his international rugby union debut.

The Bath Rugby code-hopper will start at inside centre in one of the strongest Saxons sides selected in recent years.

He will be joined in the midfield by Elliot Daly (Wasps) with England Test internationals Chris Ashton (Saracens) and Marland Yarde (Harlequins) on the wings.

Worcester Warrior’ Chris Pennell, who made his England debut against the All Blacks last summer, will start at full back.

Northampton Saint’ Lee Dickson will lead the team out at Irish Independent Park against the Wolfhounds.

The front row is full of international experience too with Matt Mullan (Wasps), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby) and Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby), all New Zealand tourists last summer, named in the side.

“The game tomorrow night against the Wolfhounds will be a difficult and tough match for us but the group is excited about it and the opportunity to put on an England shirt,” said Saxons Head Coach Jon Callard

“The team is one of the strongest Saxons sides selected and every player knows the importance of this match with potential of claiming a spot in the senior squad for the RBS 6 Nations campaign and the World Cup later in year.”

Newcastle Falcon’ Kieran Brookes has been called back into the senior squad as training cover so Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps) will take his place on the Saxons bench. Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks) has been brought into the Saxons group on standby.

The last time the two sides met on Irish soil, in 2013, the Saxons beat the Wolfhounds 14-10 in Galway but last season’s fixture saw the Saxons narrowly lose 14-8 at Kingsholm, Gloucester.

England Saxons team

15 Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) , 14 Chris Ashton (Saracens) , 13 Elliot Daly (Wasps) , 12 Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby) , 11 Marland Yarde (Harlequins) , 10 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) , 9 Lee Dickson, captain (Northampton Saints) , 8 Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) ,7 Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) , 6 Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs) , 5 James Gaskell (Wasps), 4 Matt Garvey (Bath Rugby) , 3 Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby) , 2 Rob Webber (Bath Rugby) , 1 Matt Mullan (Wasps)

Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan Dickie (Exeter Chiefs) , 17 Alex Waller (Northampton Saints) , 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps) , 19 Maro Itoje (Saracens) , 20 Carl Fearns (Bath) , 21 Joe Simpson (Wasps) , 22 Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby) , 23 Christian Wade (Wasps)

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