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Wood to captain England against France

Tom Wood will captain England in Saturday’s QBE International against France at Twickenham Stadium (8pm, live on Sky Sports HD).

The Northampton Saints back row, who led England in their two-Test tour of Argentina in 2013, will win his 37th cap as England start a series of three games leading into the Rugby World Cup.

Wood will pack down alongside Saints’ team-mate Calum Clark, who will win his first cap, and Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) who returns from injury to play his first Test this season.

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) and Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby) make their England debuts while Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie is included in a 23 which contains four British & Irish Lions – Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs) and Mako Vunipola (Saracens).

England play France home and away (August 22) in successive weeks followed by the final QBE International against Ireland at Twickenham on September 5.

Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We are really excited to play our first QBE International at Twickenham and to put into practice some what we have been working on for the last six weeks.

“The lads are itching to get out and play a match and these games give us a chance to look at a wide range of players and combinations before we narrow down our selection further.

“Tom is one of several leaders in the squad and he captained the team well in Argentina when Chris Robshaw was rested so this is an ideal opportunity to take the armband at Twickenham against what will be a quality French team.

“I’m delighted for the new caps and for Ben Morgan, who has worked so hard to get back to fitness following his injury.”
 
England (v France, QBE International, Twickenham Stadium, 8pm, Saturday August 15)
15 Alex Goode (Saracens, 17 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
12 Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 13 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 29 caps)
9 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 21 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 20 caps)
2 Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
3 Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 10 caps)
4 George Kruis (Saracens, 7 caps)
5 Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs, 23 caps)
6 Tom Wood (capt, Northampton Saints, 36 caps)
7 Calum Clark (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
8 Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 27 caps)
 
Replacements
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
17 Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints, 19 caps)
18 David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 41 caps)
19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 20 caps)
20 James Haskell (Wasps, 58 caps)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins, 50 caps)
22 Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks, 12 caps)
23 Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 20 caps)

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