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Banahan and Abendanon in Saxons training squad

23 January 2012

Bath Rugby backs Matt Banahan and Nick Abendanon have been named in the England Saxons squad preparing to face the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds at Sandy Park on Saturday, kick-off 5pm.

Banahan and Abendanon join centre Matt Hopper, who is one of five new players named in the 25-man group, alongside scrum half Paul Hodgson (London Irish), prop Rupert Harden (Gloucester Rugby), lock Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers) and flanker Kearnan Myall (Sale Sharks).

Hodgson and Harden are temporary injury replacements for Karl Dickson (Harlequins) and Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks). Hopper, Slater and Myall step up in place of Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers) and Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), who have joined the senior squad training in Leeds this week.

"This squad has got a great deal of longevity," said Saxons coach, Jon Callard. "They've all got something to offer to the national team, whether they're coming down from the senior squad, or they've been injured, or if they're young players going up. Everyone's got a contribution to make and it's all about the future."

The Saxons assemble at Woodbury Park in Devon today and the side to face the Wolfhounds is due to be named on Thursday, January 26.

England Saxons squad                                                                        

Backs

Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)

Delon Armitage (London Irish)

Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)

Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)

Matt Hopper (Harlequins)

Paul Hodgson (London Irish)

Ryan Lamb (Northampton Saints)

Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)

Ugo Monye (Harlequins)

Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers)

Micky Young (Leicester Tigers)

Forwards

Chris Brooker (Harlequins)

Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints)

Matt Garvey (London Irish)

James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)

Joe Gray (Harlequins)

Rupert Harden (Gloucester Rugby)

Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)

Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)

Kearnan Myall (Sale Sharks)

George Robson (Harlequins)

Andy Saull (Saracens)

Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)

Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)

Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby)

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