Cape Town – Former Stormers loose forward Don Armand and seven players with Test experience have been included in the England Saxons squad to tour South Africa in June. The Rugby Football Union announced the squad and coaching staff on Monday.
The 27-man squad for the two matches against South Africa ‘A’ will be coached by Exeter Chiefs assistant coach Ali Hepher, assisted by Alan Dickens (Northampton Saints) and Andy Titterrell (Wasps).
The Saxons squad, comprising of experienced names and emerging talent, including former DHL Western Province loose forward Don Armand, will play in at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday 10 June and Outeniqua Park in George on Friday 17 June. Both matches will kick off at 19h10.
England internationals Kieran Brookes, Dave Attwood, Matt Kvesic, Danny Cipriani, Christian Wade, Semesa Rokoduguni and Luther Burrell bring 69 senior caps to the squad and many of the remaining 20 have represented England in age-grade teams in recent years.
Attwood, Kvesic, Burrell, Tommy Taylor and Oliver Devoto were named yesterday in Eddie Jones’ wider squad to play Wales for the Old Mutual Wealth Cup at Twickenham on Sunday 29 May.
Saxons head coach Ali Hepher said: “Eddie Jones has given us a strong development squad to take on a South Africa A side. The squad has a good mixture of experienced players and emerging talent.
“Playing twice in South Africa is going to be a great challenge and a significant test for us but it is also an incredibly exciting opportunity for the players and management to prove themselves.
“The series will give the players international experience and will be an important stepping stone towards international honours.
“As coaches, this is an exciting opportunity for us too, not only to coach this group of highly-talented players but also for us to gain some international rugby experience.”
The SA ‘A’ head coach and management team will be named later in the week, while the squad will be announced on Saturday evening.
The England Saxons squad:
Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)
Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs)
Tommy Taylor (Wasps)
George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)
Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps)
Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints) *16 senior England caps
James Craig (Northampton Saints)
Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby) *22 senior England caps
Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
Donovan Armand (Exeter Chiefs)
Matthew Kvesic (Gloucester) *2 senior England caps
James Chisholm (Harlequins)
Sam Jones (Wasps)
Dan Robson (Wasps)
Michael Young (Newcastle Falcons)
Oliver Devoto (Bath Rugby)
Danny Cipriani (Wasps) *14 senior England caps
Christian Wade (Wasps) *1 senior England cap
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby) *1 senior England cap
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints) *13 senior England caps
Alex Lewington (London Irish)
Sam James (Sale Sharks)
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks)
Head Coach – Ali Hepher (Exeter Chiefs)
Assistant Coach – Andy Titterrell (Wasps)
Assistant Coach – Alan Dickens (Northampton Saints)
Team Manager – Richard Hill