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Four Tigers in Saxons squad for final

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Tigers' new second row signing Richard Blaze will start for England Saxons against the New Zealand Maori in this Saturday's Churchill Cup Final, while future Leicester colleagues Tom Croft, Jordan Crane and Ayoola Erinle will be among the replacements.

Blaze has impressed in England colours so far, with the hosts' recording victories over the USA and Scotland A to reach this weekend's final at Twickenham (kick-off 4.30pm).

With Nick Abendanon's man of the match performance against Scotland A earning him a call up to Brian Ashton's senior squad in South Africa, England Saxons coaches Jim Mallinder and Dorian West have made one change to the starting line up.

Abendanon's call up makes him the fourth England Saxon to join the senior squad in as many weeks and Mallinder is pleased his performance has been rewarded.  "I'm absolutely delighted for Nick. I thought the way he performed against Scotland A on Monday - and the form he's shown all season for Bath - would have put him in Brian's reckoning and I'm really pleased his chance has come a little sooner than expected. This is exactly what England Saxons is all about."

England head coach, Brian Aston, reiterated Mallinder's message. "I have said all along that there is a clear pathway between the Saxons and the senior team and the squad I have here in South Africa and the recent call ups I've made clearly illustrate that point."

In Abendanon's absence, Danny Cipriani will move to full back with Olly Barkley stepping in one position to fill the No.10 shirt. 

"To help us build on Monday's performance we've tried to minimise the disruption to the backline," said Mallinder. "Danny has been playing full back for his club since last December. He's very at home there and Olly is a very experienced player and will comfortably slot in at 10."

Barkley's inside centre position will be taken by Nils Mordt (London Irish), who has already made two appearances there from the bench, with Erinle called into the matchday 22. 

Forwards coach Dorian West has stuck with the same pack that outmuscled the more experienced Scottish forwards in England's 18-3 victory at Twickenham on Monday. 

England Saxons team to play New Zealand Maori (Barclays Churchill Cup Final, Twickenham Stadium, Saturday, June 2, kick-off 4.30pm)

15 Danny Cipriani (London Wasps)
14 Paul Sackey (London Wasps)*
13 Kevin Sorrell (Saracens)
12 Nils Mordt (London Irish)
11 Tom Voyce (London Wasps)*
10 Olly Barkley (Bath Rugby)*
9 Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks)

1 Neal Hatley (London Irish, captain)
2 David Paice (London Irish)
3 John Brooks (Northampton Saints)
4 Richard Blaze (Worcester Warriors - Tigers as of 2007/08)
5 Jim Evans (NEC Harlequins)
6 James Haskell (London Wasps)*
7 Will Skinner (NEC Harlequins)
8 Phil Dowson (Newcastle Falcons)


16 Matt Thompson (Newcastle Falcons)
17 Jack Forster (Gloucester Rugby)
18 Tom Mercey (Saracens)
19 Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
20 Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)

21 Lee Dickson (Newcastle Falcons)
22 Ayoola Erinle (London Wasps - Tigers as of 2007/08)

* denotes capped players

The Barclays Churchill Cup Finals day on Saturday, June 2 at Twickenham, kicks off at 11.30am with USA vs Canada in the Bowl Final, then Scotland A play Ireland A in the Plate Final at 1.45pm before England Saxons take on the New Zealand Maori in the main final at 4.30pm.

Tickets for the whole day cost from £10 for under 16s and from £20 for adults and are available from 0870 902 0000 or www.ticketmaster.co.uk until 3pm on Thursday May 31, or on the day from 10.30am from the box office in the west car park.