Squad bursting with talented players

PUBLISHED: 15:30 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 22:26 26 October 2009

THE Saxons are England s second string and the squad is brimming with talented backs. The party announced last week includes the likes of Leicester Tigers centre Dan Hipkiss, who played at the World Cup last year, and Welford Road wing Tom Varndell. Lond

THE Saxons are England's second string and the squad is brimming with talented backs.

The party announced last week includes the likes of Leicester Tigers centre Dan Hipkiss, who played at the World Cup last year, and Welford Road wing Tom Varndell.

London Irish fly-half Shane Geraghty, who made a dramatic England debut against France in last season's Six Nations, and the exciting Gloucester trio of Anthony Allen, Ryan Lamb and James Simpson-Daniel are also in the 32-strong squad.

Head coach and former Welwyn player Steve Bates said: "It is a very exciting squad to be involved with when you look at the quality they have in all positions, and when the time comes I'm sure we can look forward to two cracking games against Ireland A and Italy A."

Those thoughts were echoed by assistant coach Simon Hardy, who is set for his second stint with England Saxons.

The former Welwyn coach said: "It's a very talented squad and as coaches we'll be looking to create a game that allows the players to express themselves.

"I've worked with a number of the players before at the 2006 Churchill Cup - Nick Kenney, David Paice, Alex Brown, Luke Narraway, Phil Dowson, Ben Woods - and I spend a lot of time at clubs doing specialist throwing in work with David Paice and Andy Titterrell, as well as George Chuter and Lee Mears.

"This is a huge opportunity for the next generation of players to come through and stake a claim.

"It's our job to allow them to show what they can do."

Hardy has even coached one of the England Saxons' backroom team.

He said: "I coached Graham Rowntree when he was playing in the England squad.

"As coaches, we worked together in the lead up to the 2007 World Cup.

"He's an outstanding coach and I'm looking forward to doing more work with him.

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