Dowson to skipper Saxons
Falcon forward one of four Newcastle players in team to face Italy A
Last Updated: 06/02/08 11:38am
Dowson: Main man
Newcastle Falcons captain Phil Dowson has been selected as captain of the England Saxons.
"I think it's a great indication that we can still field such a strong and competitive squad, despite only picking from half the Premiership."
Steve Bates Quotes of the week
Dowson will take over from Leicester Tiger number eight Jordan Crane, who led the Saxons to a 31-13 victory over Ireland A on Friday.
Crane is required on domestic duty and so Dowson will skipper a side which includes five potential debutants for the game against Italy A on Saturday.
Wingers John Rudd and Tom Biggs, prop Alex Clarke, Bath lock Peter Short and Harlequins number eight Tom Guest are the new arrivals, but Saxons head coach Steve Bates still believes the team can do a job in Sicily.
"With Guinness Premiership games on this weekend we have agreed to release a number of players to play for their clubs," Bates said.
"I think it's a great indication that we can still field such a strong and competitive squad, despite only picking from half the Premiership.
"I have been impressed at how quickly the new faces have fitted in and how quickly the squad has come together."
Prop David Wilson has been named on the bench, despite the fact he is awaiting a verdict from a disciplinary commission in London after being cited during the Ireland A game.
Wilson's team-mate Lee Dickson is named at scrum-half meanwhile, after training with the senior RBS Six Nations squad.
Saxons: N Abendanon (Bath); J Rudd (Newcastle), D Armitage (London Irish), A Crockett (Bath), T Biggs (Leeds Carnegie); A Jarvis (Harlequins), L Dickson (Newcastle); A Clarke (Bristol), D Paice (London Irish), J Hobson (Bristol), P Short (Bath), N Kennedy (London Irish), P Dowson (Newcastle, capt), B Woods (Newcastle), T Guest (Harlequins)
Replacements: A Long (Newcastle), D Wilson (Newcastle), A Springgay (Bayonne), W Skinner (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), M Brown (Harlequins), T Ojo (London Irish)