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Premiership Rugby

Bracken to captain England ‘A’

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The 31-year-old has a wealth of international experience having won 41 senior England caps since his Test debut against New Zealand in 1993 and skippered England on their North American tour in 2001.

"I'm sure he'll make the most of this opportunity," said England coach Clive Woodward. "France 'A' is a massive game and the players taking part have an excellent opportunity to push for selection to the Elite squad."

While there was no place for Mike Catt in either the 'A' squad or senior squad announced last week, Woodward left the door open for the Bath veteran who has battled against injury over the past year.

"I will be watching Mike Catt in the Zurich Premiership match between Bath and Leicester Tigers this weekend. I have been monitoring his return to fitness closely," said Woodward.

"His attitude has been outstanding and if he comes through the game unscathed he will be included in the 'A' squad. Mike has been through a tough time with injuries and I hope he can now enjoy a sustained period of fitness as he and a number of other players who are also unavailable, remain in my thoughts and plans for the future."

Woodard also announced that Joe Lydon will help coach the 'A' team in tandem with his main duties as England Sevens coach, alongside Phil Keith-Roach, Simon Hardy, with input from senior colleagues Woodward and Andy Robinson.

A number of players were ruled out by injury but Iain Balshaw, Austin Healey and Trevor Woodman will attend the two day training session.

England A (squad):

Backs: M Perry (Bath), D Scarbrough (Leeds), M Garvey (Gloucester), M Cueto (Sale Sharks), O Smith (Leicester), F Waters (Wasps), K Sorrell (Saracens), B Johnston (Saracens), A King (Wasps), P Grayson (Northampton), K Bracken (Saracens, captaom), N Walshe (Sale Sharks).

Forwards: G Rowntree (Leicester), M Worsley (London Irish), A Sheridan (Bristol Shoguns), R Morris (Northampton), M Fitzgerald (Biarritz), A Titterell (Sale Sharks), S Borthwick (Bath), C Jones (Sale Sharks), T Palmer (Leeds), M Corry (Leicester), A Hazell (Gloucester), A Sanderson (Sale Sharks), J Forrester (Gloucester).

Players not considered because of injury; Iain Balshaw, Nick Duncombe, David Flatman, Austin Healey, Michael Horak, Josh Lewsey, Trevor Woodman.

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