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Crane leads Saxons in cup opener

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Jordan Crane will captain England Saxons in the opening game of the Churchill Cup at Northampton on Saturday.

The Leicester Tigers No8 is joined in the Saxons line-up by club colleague Billy Twelvetrees as the Saxons open against the USA at Franklin’s Gardens (5pm).

Crane captains the side in the absence of Luke Narraway who is receiving treatment on a calf injury.

Saxons head coach Stuart Lancaster has called upon a blend of youth and experience, with Saracens prop Matt Stevens (32 caps) the most experienced of six senior internationals.

Lancaster said: "We want to make sure win this trophy again and to do so we've got to win some tough games starting off with the USA and Tonga, both of whom are gearing up for the World Cup.

"But we've got a good mix of players including seven of those who did well against an experienced Barbarians side at Twickenham last Sunday and there are more players who've joined us after taking part in big club games at the end of the domestic season.

"There's lots at stake for all of them, whether they're pushing for places in this World Cup this year or the next one in 2015, but the most important thing is to get off to a good start against what we're expecting to be a very smart USA side on Saturday."

The Saxons match follows the Churchill Cup curtain-raiser between Italy A and Canada at Franklin’s Gardens and tickets are priced £20 adults, £10 juniors, £50 family of four. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.churchillcuprugby.net

England Saxons
15 Mike Brown (Harlequins)
14 Topsy Ojo (London Irish)
13 Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby)
12 Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers)
11 Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors)
10 Rory Clegg (Harlequins)
9 Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons)
1 Matt Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
2 Joe Gray (Harlequins)
3 Matt Stevens (Saracens)
4 Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
5 Dave Attwood (Gloucester Rugby)
6 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)
7 Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
8 Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers, captain)

16 David Paice (London Irish)
17 Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)
18 Graham Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
19 Jamie Gibson (London Irish)
20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
21 Alex Goode (Saracens)
22 Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby)