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Watson & Burns start for Callum Clark led England Saxons & Cardiff Met dominate England Students side

England have named an exciting Saxons team to face the Irish Wolfhounds on Saturday.

Northampton Saints flanker, and former EPS squad member, Callum Clark will captain the side from blindside flanker, with Harlequins’ Luke Wallace on the openside.

Exeter Chiefs Dave Ewers starts between them at number 8, he is one of eight Chiefs in the squad as their superb academy starts to pay off nationally, last year’s U20s stars Sam Hill and Henry Slade are both in the squad, however Slade must make do with a place on the bench as Freddie Burns starts at fly half after being left out of Stuart Lancaster’s Six Nations squad.

One man who is included in the Six Nations squad is Anthony Watson. He replaces his Bath teammate Semesa Rokoduguni in the Saxons but Stuart Lancaster will be keeping a close eye on how Watson fares, ahead of a potential debut for the young winger during the Six Nations.

Elliot Daly starts at full back after Matt Tait had to drop out after picking up a back injury against Ulster at the weekend, while Charlie Sharples comes in one the wing in place of Tom Varndell, who is also injured.

Matt Hopper lines up next to Hill in the centres, while at scrum half the Saxons have another capped international in Wasps’ Joe Simpson.

In the pack Alex Waller and Tom Mercey pack down either side of the new rising star at hooker, Jamie George, while in the second row Harlequins’ Charlie Matthews and Saracens’ George Kruis combine.

Speaking ahead of the game, RFU Head of International Player Development, Joe Lydon, said:

“Calum Clark has been a positive influence from the moment he arrived in camp, he commands the respect of the group and I’m sure he will lead from the front, Freddie Burns has also made an outstanding contribution in the time he’s been with us and he will be vice-captain at Kingsholm.”

It is positive step for the highly rated Clark, who has been on the verge of full international recognition a few times but between injury and some horrific foul play, has missed out. Captaining the Saxons though seems to suggest that that episode has now been truly forgiven.

Lydon spoke of the aims of the Saxons squad being both for the immediate and long terms, explaining:

“Players can make an immediate step from the Saxons into the senior side but we’re also looking at the development of those players with the longer term potential to push for places in England’s World Cup squads in 2015, 2019 and beyond.”

“First and foremost, though, we want to win against the Wolfhounds and Scotland A. The recent history of these games tells us it will be hard work against two fiercely competitive teams.”

The England Students have also named their team today; they play Portugal at 8pm tomorrow evening. The 22 man squad includes six members of the Cardiff Metropolitan University, while Loughborough and Exeter contribute three members each.

Who are you most excited about seeing in the England Saxons line up? Is Callum Clark the right man to captain the side, could the likes of Freddie Burns and Anthony Watson play their way into the Senior England side? Let us know via the comment box below or on Twitter at @FifteenRugbyXV

England Saxons (v Irish Wolfhounds, Saturday 5pm Sky Sports 1):

15 Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
13 Matt Hopper (Harlequins)
12 Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
11 Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
10 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
9 Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
1 Alex Waller (Northampton Saints)
2 Jamie George (Saracens)
3 Tom Mercey (Northampton Saints)
4 Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)
5 George Kruis (Saracens)
6 Calum Clark (Northampton Saints, captain)
7 Luke Wallace (Harlequins)
8 Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs).

Replacements: 16 Dave Ward (Harlequins)
17 Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
18 Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
19 Elliott Stooke (Gloucester Rugby)
20 Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints)
21 Dave Lewis (Exeter Chiefs)
22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
23 Rob Miller (Sale Sharks).

England Students XV (v Portugal XV):

1. Matthew Beesley (Leeds Met)  2. James Stephenson (Bristol)  3. Adam Jamieson (Bath)  4. Sean Robinson (Durham)  5. Josh Walker (Cardiff Met)  6. George Messum (Loughborough, capt)  7. Tom Hall (Cardiff Met)  8. Freddie Clarke (Bath)  9. Oliver Claxton (Exeter)  10. Sam Katz (Loughborough)  11. Murray Galbraith-Lowe (Durham)  12. Sebastian Rodwell (Hartpury)  13. Ben Axten-Burrett (Cardiff Met)  14. Jake Henry (Cardiff Met)  15. Guy Wood (Cardiff Met).

Replacements: 16. Lovejoy Chawatama (UWE)  17. Alex Boggis (Nottingham)  18. Tom Crozier (Loughborough)  19. James Gray (Exeter)  20. Rob Coote (Exeter)  21. Mark Cooke (Cardiff Met)  22. Ruaridh McConnochie (University of Gloucestershire).

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