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England Saxons name starting line-up for first South Africa Test

The England Saxons have named their match-day 23 to face South Africa ‘A’ ahead of the first game in Bloemfontein on Friday 10 June.

The starting 15 features a wealth of senior England experience, with a total of 60 caps shared among the side, led by captain Dave Attwood.

Ollie Devoto and Tommy Taylor, who both came off the bench to gain their first England caps in the recent Old Mutual Wealth Cup against Wales, are among the names starting on Friday.

Saxons will play South Africa’s second team for the first time at Bloemfontein’s Free State stadium, kicking off at 6.10pm BST with the match broadcast live on Sky Sports 3.

Head Coach Ali Hepher said: “We’re really pleased with how the group is progressing together. We’re developing the players, which is key to this tour, and we now want to see how they perform on the international stage.

“Friday night offers us a fantastic challenge and this game will tell us where we’re at, what we’ve got to work on and improve, and to see the strengths the guys have on the field.

“We want to see a team that doesn’t hold back, that is fearless in the way it puts itself out there, but is also very accurate, playing smart rugby with or without the ball.”

The squad arrived in South Africa on Wednesday 1 June and have spent the past week training at the Sharks’ Kings Park Stadium in Durban, before they fly on to Bloemfontein tomorrow.

Hepher added: “We’ve given the players a basic structure through which they are able to express themselves and be the players they are.

“It has also been key to bond the side and the guys are leading on those activities on and off field. It is great to see them taking responsibility for the whole tour.”

The side play South Africa ‘A’ twice, with their second game taking place at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday 17 June (KO 6.10pm BST).  

England Saxons match-day 23 for first game against South Africa ‘A’
15. Mike Haley (Sale Sharks)
14. Alex Lewington (London Irish)
13. Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12. Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby, 1 senior England cap)
11. Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby, 1 senior England cap)
10. Danny Cipriani (Wasps, 14 senior England caps)
9. Dan Robson (Wasps)

1. Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs)
2. Tommy Taylor (Wasps, 1 senior England cap)
3. Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 16 senior England caps)
4. Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 23 senior England caps) (C)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
6. Don Armand (Exeter Chiefs)
7. Matt Kvesic (Gloucester, 3 senior England caps)
8. Sam Jones (Wasps)

16. George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)
17. Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)
18. Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps)
19. Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs)
20. Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
21. Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons)
22. Sam James (Sale Sharks)
23. Christian Wade (Wasps, 1 senior England cap)

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