Cape Town – The England Saxons have named their match-day 23 to face South Africa ‘A’ ahead of the first game in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The starting 15 features a wealth of senior England experience, with a total of 60 caps shared among the side, led by captain Dave Attwood.
Ollie Devoto and Tommy Taylor, who both came off the bench to gain their first England caps in the recent Old Mutual Wealth Cup against Wales, are among the names starting on Friday.
Saxons will play South Africa’s second team for the first time at Bloemfontein’s Free State stadium.
“We’re really pleased with how the group is progressing together. We’re developing the players, which is key to this tour, and we now want to see how they perform on the international stage,” coach Ali Hepher said.
“Friday night offers us a fantastic challenge and this game will tell us where we’re at, what we’ve got to work on and improve, and to see the strengths the guys have on the field.
“We want to see a team that doesn’t hold back, that is fearless in the way it puts itself out there, but is also very accurate, playing smart rugby with or without the ball.”
The squad arrived in South Africa on Wednesday 1 June and have spent the past week training at the Sharks’ Kings Park Stadium in Durban, before they fly on to Bloemfontein tomorrow.
“We’ve given the players a basic structure through which they are able to express themselves and be the players they are,” added hepher.
“It has also been key to bond the side and the guys are leading on those activities on and off field. It is great to see them taking responsibility for the whole tour.”
The side play South Africa ‘A’ twice, with their second game taking place at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday 17 June.
15 Leolin Zas, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Garth April, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Oupa Mohoje (captain), 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Lukhanyo Am
15 Mike Haley, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Semesa Rokoduguni, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sam Jones, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Don Armand, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Dave Attwood (c), 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Alec Hepburn
Substitutes: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Micky Young, 22 Sam James, 23 Christian Wade