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Ellis back in action with Saxons start

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England Saxons head coach Stuart Lancaster has named four Leicester Tigers in the team to take on Portugal at Edgeley Park, Stockport, this Friday.

While Harry Ellis and Tom Varndell are named in their usual club roles, Dan Cole props down at loose-head and Jordan Crane moves from his usual No.8 position to join Wasps' George Skivington in the second row.

Matt Smith, who has been an ever-present with Tigers this season, is named among the replacements.

Lancaster said: "This is a team based on potential for the future and that's very much what England Saxons, and this game especially, is about.

"It's a great opportunity for a lot of young talented players to put a marker down on the international stage.

“Five of last year's successful England Under-20s squad are included, then you've got the likes of Phil Dowson and Jordan Crane who will bring experience as well as their club form into the side.”

For Ellis, capped 22 times at senior level, the match marks a return to action after a six-week absence.

"Harry has been outstanding all week in training and it'll be great for him to get some game time," said Lancaster. "I know the senior coaches are keen to see him back in action and this is the perfect stage."

London Irish flanker Jon Fisher, the youngest member of the squad at just 20, joined the squad yesterday in place of the injured Tigers flanker Ben Woods.

Tickets for match are available online from www.salesharks.com and are priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for juniors. The game is also being shown live on Sky Sports 1.

England Saxons
15 Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)*
14 Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers)*
13 Dominic Waldouck (London Wasps)
12 Adam Powell (Saracens)
11 Noah Cato (Saracens)
10 Ed Barnes (Bristol Rugby)
9 Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers)*
1 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
2 Rob Webber (London Wasps)
3 Dave Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
4 Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)*
5 George Skivington (London Wasps)
6 Kearnan Myall (Leeds Carnegie)
7 Andy Saull (Saracens)
8 Phil Dowson (Newcastle Falcons, captain)

16 Joe Ward (London Wasps)
17 Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby)
18 Tom Mercey (Saracens)
19 Jon Fisher (London Irish)
20 Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
21 Alex Goode (Saracens)
22 Matt Smith (Leicester Tigers)
* Denotes capped player