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Marcos has England in mind

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Leicester prop Marcos Ayerza has joined up with the Argentina squad - and now has England and some of his clubmates in his sights. The 23-year-old, who has become a big favourite with supporters in his first few months at Welford Road, played his part in Saturday's 40-21 Guinness Premiership win over Worcester Warriors before joining up with the national squad.

"I was really pleased to be leaving with an important victory for the team - and not to have the feeling of 'escaping' from a losing side," said Ayerza. "It was a very important victory for us against Worcester. We need these points, we need confidence in this period of the season and I hope we can keep it up even with some international players away with their countries."

First-choice loosehead Rodrigo Roncero of Stade Francais has withdrawn from the squad with injury and Ayerza hopes to step into the breach in the matchday 22.

"It would be excellent to get to play in such a big match," said Ayerza, who has eight senior caps. "And it would be a big experience to play against Julian White, George Chuter, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody and Martin Corry.

"The whole Argentina squad will have a week of very hard work to prepare for a big challenge against England at Twickenham."

Ayerza is convinced that leaving his home in South America - and a family which includes 10 brothers - to test himself in a professional environment in Europe will make him a better player.

"I think it was a big challenge for me coming here but I am getting used to it and the work makes me more competitive in terms of playing for Argentina," he said. "I am improving my skills, but I am still learning and still trying to improve more."

Looking ahead to Saturday's clash at Twickenham, Ayerza added: "Argentina have a big scrum and a good pack of forwards. I just hope I can get some minutes against England or, if not, in the other international games coming up before I come back to Leicester."