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No Cipriani, but Burgess and Ashton to start for powerful England Saxons XV

Coach Joe Callard says his squad is one of the strongest Saxons sides ever assembled.

Image: David Davies

RUGBY LEAGUE CODE-SWAPPER Sam Burgess will take another step closer to Test level rugby union tomorrow after being named to start in the centre for England Saxons’ pre-tournament visit to Ireland.

Another convert is named on the wing, though Chris Ashton has already displayed his international pedigree and will be using his time in Cork to try and show England head coach Stuart Lancaster that he is worth recalling to the international arena.

The side will be captained by  Northampton Saints scrum-half Lee Dickson and at number 10, Exeter’s Henry Slade will be targeting a second win in two weeks on Irish soil.

With Owen Farrell ruled out of the tournament, Lancaster has resisted the urged to try out the apparent back-ups to George Ford in this fixture with neither Danny Cipriani or Stephen Myler making the trip.

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

England Saxons (v Ireland Wolfhounds):

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, Capt (Northampton Saints)
1 Matt Mullan (Wasps)
2 Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)
3 Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby)
4 Matt Garvey (Bath Rugby)
5 James Gaskell (Wasps)
6 Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
7 Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
8 Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)

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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