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Crane leads out Saxons for cup final

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Jordan Crane will captain England Saxons in the final of the Churchill Cup against Canada at Sixways Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 4.30pm).

Leicester Tigers No8 Crane leads a Saxons squad which includes Tigers team-mate Billy Twelvetrees and new recruits Graham Kitchener and Micky Young in a repeat of last year’s Churchill Cup final. On that occasion England beat Canada 31-18.

Kitchener will make his first start of this year’s competition after appearances from the bench in the group wins over USA and Tonga.

And the 21-year-old, who scored a try in the Saxons’ 87-8 win over USA in their opening game, says England will not take anything for granted when they run out at the home of Worcester Warriors.

“I don’t think there’s any case of us relaxing,” said Kitchener, who has agreed terms on a move from Worcester to Tigers this summer. “We have reviewed each game as it’s gone and we have said that the next game will be completely different.

“We have seen how Canada play and they are a very good team. To beat Italy A in the way that they did, we are definitely not taking them for granted.”

Kitchener added: “It has been a very positive tournament for us. We came into it not knowing what to expect from the two teams in our group, especially Tonga.

“They were tough games but we came through them as a squad. In the short amount of time we have been together has been put to good use and we are gelling well.”

Head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "It's disappointing to lose Dave Attwood off the back of three good performances against the Barbarians and in the Churchill Cup but it's a great opportunity for Graham Kitchener. We're confident about what he can deliver having played so well against Italy A at Worcester earlier in the season.

"We're aware of the threat that Canada pose. They've played well in their wins against Italy A and Russia. They're a fit, well-coached and organised side who have spent a considerable amount of time together over the last few years. They will fight for the full 80 minutes so we've got a big challenge ahead of us to retain the trophy."

England Saxons
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins)
14 Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)
13 Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby)
12 Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers)
11 Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors)
10 Rory Clegg (Harlequins)
9 Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
1 Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
2 David Paice (London Irish)
3 Matt Stevens (Saracens)
4 Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
5 Graham Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
6 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)
7 Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
8 Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers, captain)

16 Joe Gray (Harlequins)
17 Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
18 Jamie Gibson (London Irish)
19 Carl Fearns (Sale Sharks)
20 Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons)
21 Alex Goode (Saracens)
22 Topsy Ojo (London Irish)

Canada: 15 Matt Evans, 14 Ciaran Hearn, 13 Phil Mackenzie, 12 Ryan Smith, 11 James Pritchard, 10 Ander Monro, 9 Sean White, 1 Hubert Buydens, 2 Pat Riordan (Captain), 3 Jason Marshall, 4 Brian Erichsen, 5 Jamie Cudmore, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Chauncey O'Toole, 8 Aaron Carpenter. Replacements: 16 Andrew Tiedemann, 17 Scott Franklin, 18 Tyler Hotson, 19 Nanyak Dala, 20 Jamie Mackenzie, 21 Nathan Hirayama, 22 Conor Trainor