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England stick with five-star Tigers

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The five Leicester Tigers stars who played their part in England's 42-20 demolition of Scotland last weekend will all be involved again for the match with Italy at Twickenham this Saturday. Harry Ellis, Martin Corry, Louis Deacon and George Chuter all maintain their places in Brian Ashton's starting XV, with Julian White again named among the replacements.

Head Coach Ashton makes two changes to his starting-line up, along with a single alteration to the bench for the clash with the Azurri.

Nick Easter of NEC Harlequins wins his first cap at blind-side flanker in place of Joe Worsley, Iain Balshaw replaces Olly Morgan at full-back and Shaun Perry comes on to the replacements bench for Peter Richards, who will join the England Saxons training squad to prepare for their match against Ireland A in Belfast (Ravenhill) on Friday (7.45pm).

"I thought that Olly Morgan did a good job on Saturday, especially as he was called in at such short notice but I have gone for Iain's greater experience at international level," said Ashton. "Iain will train on Wednesday and if he comes through that session and shows that he has recovered from his groin injury then he will start. If he doesn't, I will recall Olly.

"I'd like to congratulate Nick Easter on his first cap for England. Nick has had a very good season in the Guinness Premiership and played in the successful England Saxons side that beat Italy last Friday. Joe Worsley wasn't considered because he hasn't fully recovered from a neck injury he sustained on Saturday but we believe he will be fit and available for selection for the Ireland game.

"It was a tough call but I have opted for Shaun Perry to take a place on the bench as I thought he had a very good game for the England Saxons on Friday."


15     Iain Balshaw (Gloucester Rugby)
14    Josh Lewsey  (London Wasps )
13     Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby)
12     Andy Farrell (Saracens)
11     Jason Robinson (Sale Sharks)
10     Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons)
    Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers)

    Perry Freshwater (Perpignan)
    George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
    Phil Vickery (London Wasps, capt)
    Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
    Danny Grewcock (Bath Rugby)
    Nick Easter (NEC Harlequins)*
    Magnus Lund (Sale Sharks)
    Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers)


16     Lee Mears (Bath Rugby
17     Julian White (Leicester Tigers) 
18     Tom Palmer (London Wasps)
19     Tom Rees (London Wasps)
20     Shaun Perry (Bristol Rugby)
21     Toby Flood (Newcastle Falcons)
22     Mathew Tait (Newcastle Falcons)
* New cap

Nick Easter biography

Club: NEC Harlequins

Position: Back row

Born: 25.08.75

Height: 1.93m 

Weight: 115kg

International record: Uncapped

Nick Easter joined NEC Harlequins from Orrell at the end of August 2004 and made his first appearance for the club in the Zurich A League victory over Saracens on September 6 that year.  His first team debut came against Worcester on October 2 and the following month he scored two tries to be voted man-of-the-match in his team's 40-10 victory over Saracens at the Stoop, the club's first league victory of the season.   For his efforts over the 2004/05 season, Easter was named NEC Player of the Year, an award he also won at the end of the 2005/6, having scored 19 tries during the season. To date he has made 73 appearances and scored 120 points for the West London team. Prior to joining Orrell in October 2001, he spent a year in South Africa with the Villagers Club.