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Saxons debut delight for Slater

Leicester Tigers forward Ed Slater will make his England Saxons debut against Scotland A at Galashiels on Friday.

Slater, who only joined Tigers at the start of the 2009/10 season, will be joined in the Saxons team by club colleague Billy Twelvetrees who also started last week’s win over Irish Wolfhounds.

The Saxons make a total of eight changes to the starting line-up with a debut for centre Jonathan Joseph and first start for wing Jonny May, while Nick Abendanon is at full-back and Ryan Lamb takes over from Freddie Burns at fly-half.

Slater replaces London Irish’s Matt Garvey in the second row, with Nick Wood and Chris Brooker coming into the front row, and Tom Johnson is at No.8 in place of Leicester’s Thomas Waldrom who has been training with the senior squad this week.

“The endeavour and energy we showed last week was first class but we need to improve our accuracy and execution,” said England Saxons coach Jon Callard.

“We always planned to make changes over these two games and it means there are more chances for those who’ve been playing well in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe this season.

“As we saw last week, Thomas Waldrom and Matt Banahan stepped back up to train with the senior squad after 80 minutes for the Saxons so the potential opportunities for this group are very clear.”

The 23-year-old Slater has made 43 appearances for Tigers since signing from Championship side Nottingham in 2010 before being called up by the Saxons.

England Saxons
15 Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
14 Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
13 Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
12 Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester Tigers)
11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
10 Ryan Lamb (Northampton Saints)
9 Ben Spencer (Saracens)
1 Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby)
2 Chris Brooker (Harlequins)
3 Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints)
4 Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
5 George Robson (Harlequins)
6 James Gaskell (Sale Sharks) (c)
7 Andy Saull (Saracens)
8 Tom Johnson (Exeter)

Replacements
16 Joe Gray (Harlequins)
17 Rupert Harden (Gloucester Rugby)
18 Kearnan Myall (Sale Sharks)
19 David Seymour (Sale Sharks)
20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
21 Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
22 Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors)

Scotland A
15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)
14 Tom Brown (Edinburgh Rugby)
13 Alex Grove (Worcester Warriors)
12 Matt Scott (Edinburgh Rugby)
11 Simon Danielli (Ulster)
10 Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)
9 Rory Lawson (Gloucester Rugby) (c)
1 Jon Welsh (Glasgow Warriors)
2 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors)
3 Ed Kalman (Glasgow Warriors)
4 Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors)
5 Tom Ryder (Glasgow Warriors)
6 Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby)
7 Chris Fusaro (Glasgow Warriors)
8 Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks)

Replacements
16 Pat MacArthur (Glasgow Warriors)
17 Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors)
18 Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors)
19 Roddy Grant (Edinburgh Rugby)
20 Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors)
21 Phil Godman (Edinburgh Rugby)
22 Peter Murchie (Glasgow Warriors)