Burns at fly-half for Saxons

Date published: January 23 2014

Calum Clark will captain the England Saxons against the Irish Wolfhounds at Kingsholm, with Freddie Burns as vice-captain.

Calum Clark will captain the England Saxons against the Irish Wolfhounds at Kingsholm, with Freddie Burns as vice-captain.

The Northampton Saints flanker – on his first Saxons' appearance – leads a side with an average age of 24 against the Wolfhounds, who were beaten 14-10 when the teams met in Galway last year.

Six others in the starting line-up are making their debuts at this level: wing Anthony Watson (Bath), centre Sam Hill (Exeter), prop Alex Waller (Northampton), lock Charlie Matthews and flanker Luke Wallace (both Harlequins), and number eight Dave Ewers (Exeter).

Watson, 19, joins the Saxons after being temporarily released from England's Six Nations squad to give him senior international experience on the wing.

“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,” said Joe Lydon, RFU Head of International Player Development.

“Freddie Burns has also made an outstanding contribution in the time he's been with us and he will be vice-captain at Kingsholm.”

There are only three full internationals in the Saxons line-up with eight caps between them in the shape of London Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson, Gloucester fly-half Burns and wing Charlie Sharples.

“The players in this squad have worked very hard in a short week and there will be a lot of tremendous talent from the Aviva Premiership on show this Saturday and against Scotland A in Glasgow on Friday week,” added Lydon.

“They've been helped by an outstanding contribution from the staff and coaches led by Jon Callard, Simon Hardy and Paul Gustard.

“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.”

England Saxons: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Charlie Sharples, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Calum Clark (c), 5 George Kruis, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Jamie George, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Sam Dickinson, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Rob Miller

Date: Saturday, January 25
Venue: Kingsholm, Gloucester
Kickoff: 17:00 GMTReferee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Davies (Wales), Jon Mason (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)