Banahan to start for England Saxons

26 January 2012

Matt Banahan will start on the wing for the England Saxons on Saturday, as they take on the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds, kick-off 5pm.

James Gaskell, 21, will captain the side, and leads a side with an average age of just 24 years and four months at Sandy Park, Exeter. It includes senior internationals Banahan, Delon Armitage, Ugo Monye, Matt Mullan and Paul Doran-Jones in the starting line-up.

Centre Matt Hopper, half backs Freddie Burns and Ben Spencer, and No. 8 Thomas Waldrom feature for the Saxons for the first time with more newcomers on the bench in the shape of hooker Chris Brooker and wing Jonny May.

"It is a new era for us, there's a lot of youth and energy in this squad and we'll go into the game with a 'no fear' attitude," said England Saxons coach Jon Callard.

"We want to see the players express themselves and at the same time develop the streak of pragmatism you need to win big games. We've seen in Europe the strength of Irish rugby at the moment but the challenge motivates and excites us."

We will be showing the Saxons game live in the Clubhouse after the final whistle on Saturday, so why not stick around and see Matt run out in the Red Rose of England.

England Saxons

15 Delon Armitage (London Irish), 14 Ugo Monye (Harlequins), 13 Matt Hopper (Harlequins), 12 Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers), 11 Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby); 10 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), 9 Ben Spencer (Saracens); 1 Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors), 2 Joe Gray (Harlequins), 3 Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints), 4 Matt Garvey (London Irish), 5 George Robson (Harlequins), 6 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks, captain), 7 Andy Saull (Saracens), 8 Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)

Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker (Harlequins), 17 Rupert Harden (Gloucester), 18 Kearnan Myall (Sale Sharks), 19 Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), 20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish), 21 Ryan Lamb (Northampton Saints), 22 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby).

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