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Crane starts again for Saxons

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Tigers No.8 Jordan Crane has been named in the England Saxons side to face Ireland A at Ravenhill in Ulster this Friday, kick-off 7.45pm. Crane will make his second appearance for Jim Mallinder and Dorian West's team, following a successful debut during last week's victory over Italy A in Exeter.

Sale Sharks and England wing Mark Cueto has also been selected, having missed out on recent senior selection due to groin and calf injuries. Tigers wing Tom Varndell drops out of the squad, having been a 75th minute replacement against the Italians. 

"We know what Mark is capable of and with him back in the reckoning, this is a good chance for him to regain some match fitness," said Mallinder. "It's tough on Nick Abendanon, who I thought had a great game against Italy A."

Shaun Perry's man of the match performance against Italy A last week earns him an England recall in place of Gloucester's Pete Richards, who will wear the Saxons No.9 jersey, and former Great Britain rugby league player Chev Walker gets his first international union start in the centre.

"This is a good chance for us to have a look at Chev.  He did well with the little game time he got last week and fully deserves his place."

With Nick Easter set to make his Test debut at the weekend and Tom Rees retained by Ashton in place of the injured Joe Worsley, James Scaysbrook and Crane retain their back row berths. In the only change to the back row unit, Sale's Chris Jones replaces James Haskell on the blindside flank.  Newcastle Falcons' Ben Woods is called up to the replacements bench.

"We are lucky to have two quality blind side flankers in Chris Jones and James Haskell," added Mallinder. "Although James played very well for us last week, we felt that as well as giving us another good lineout option, Chris offers us the experience. We welcome Ben Woods to the squad. He's been playing consistently well for Newcastle and will give us back row cover with Nick Easter with Brian and the senior squad."

In the front row, Northampton Saints' hooker Dylan Hartley gets a start ahead of Andy Titterrell and London Wasps prop Tim Payne joins him in place of Nick Wood.

England Saxons team to play Ireland A, Friday 9 February, 7.45pm, Belfast

15 Mike Brown (NEC Harlequins)
14 Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
13 Chev Walker (Bath Rugby)
12 Mike Catt (London Irish) captain
11 David Strettle (NEC Harlequins)
10 Shane Geraghty (London Irish)
9 Pete Richards (Gloucester Rugby)

1 Tim Payne (London Wasps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
3 Stuart Turner (Sale Sharks)
4 Dean Schofield (Sale Sharks)
5 Alex Brown (Gloucester Rugby)
6 Chris Jones (Sale Sharks)
7 James Scaysbrook (Bath Rugby)
8 Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)


16 Andy Titterrell (Sale Sharks)
17 Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby)
18 Ben Woods (Newcastle Falcons)
19 James Haskell (London Wasps)
20 Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks)
21 Olly Barkley (Bath Rugby)
22 Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)