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Ex-Ireland U20 hooker in England Saxons squad but Ashton misses out

George McGuigan has played at U18 and U20 levels for Ireland.

FORMER IRELAND U20 hooker George McGuigan has been included in the England Saxons squad for their two-game tour of South Africa.

A native of England, McGuigan played for Ireland at U18 and U20 levels, but has been included in the Ali Hepher-coached Saxons squad that will take on South Africa A on 10 June and 17 June.

George McGuigan McGuigan wearing green at the 2013 Junior World Championship. Source: Jean Claude Le Boulicaut/INPHO

23-year-old McGuigan, who has played all of his club rugby with Newcastle Falcons, qualified for Ireland thanks to his parents and advanced through the Exiles system to win U18 and U20 honours.

The hooker was part of Ireland’s 2013 Junior World Championship squad, which also included the likes of Jack O’Donoghue, Rory Scannell, Josh van der Flier, Luke McGrath, Darren Sweetnam and Rory Scholes.

Having impressed with Newcastle in recent seasons, there was some speculation the hooker would move to Ireland to join one of the provinces this summer, but McGuigan instead penned a deal with Leicester Tigers.

His call-up to the Saxons squad for the tour to South Africa suggests that he is now very much on the radar of England coach Eddie Jones for the future.

Among the notable omissions from the Saxons squad – which includes full England internationals Kieran Brookes, Dave Attwood, Danny Cipriani, Matt Kvesic, Christian Wade, Luther Burrell and Semesa Rokoduguni – is Chris Ashton.

There was surprise that the Saracens wing was not named in Jones’ England squad to visit Australia next month, and his name is now also absent from the Saxons group.

England Saxons squad:

Forwards (15):

Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)
Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs)
Tommy Taylor (Wasps)
George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)
Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps)
Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints) *16 senior England caps
James Craig (Northampton Saints)
Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby) *22 senior England caps
Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
Donovan Armand (Exeter Chiefs)
Matthew Kvesic (Gloucester) * Two senior England caps
James Chisholm (Harlequins)
Sam Jones (Wasps)

Backs 12:

Dan Robson (Wasps)
Michael Young (Newcastle Falcons)
Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby)
Danny Cipriani (Wasps) *14 senior England caps
Christian Wade (Wasps) *One senior England cap
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby) *One senior England cap
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints) *13 senior England caps
Alex Lewington (London Irish)
Sam James (Sale Sharks)
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks)

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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