Six Wasps selected for England Saxons
Six Wasps players, including new signings Danny Cipriani and Tommy Taylor, have been included in England Saxons' squad for the June tour of South Africa.
The former Sale duo are joined by scrum half Dan Robson, winger Christian Wade, flanker Sam Jones and prop Jake Cooper-Woolley in a 27-strong playing contingent, while Wasps' forwards coach Andy Titterrell has been named as part of head coach Ali Hepher's back-room set-up.
Four further Wasps, including skipper James Haskell and Joe Launchbury were yesterday named in Eddie Jones' main England squad for the tour to Australia, while Joe Simpson is in the Team GB sevens training squad for the Rio Olympics.
This reflects the club's season of progress which culminated in semi-final appearances in both the Aviva Premiership and European Cup.
The Saxons will play South Africa A at Bloemfontein on Friday June 10 and Outeniqua Park in George on Friday June 17.
Former Northampton fly half Hepher, who now coaches alongside Rob Baxter at Exeter believes his squad will acquit themselves well against tough opposition. "Eddie Jones has given us a strong development squad to take on a South Africa A side," he says. "The squad has a good mixture of experienced players and emerging talent. "Playing South Africa twice in South Africa is going to be a great challenge 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."
Many thought Cipriani would claim a spot on the Australian tour and should he produce his best form for the Saxons he will apply serious pressure to George Ford's tenure in the No.10 shirt. Wade could also prosper on the hard pitches that the Saxons will encounter.
Robson's superb second half of the season has seen him leap into England contention and provides justification for his decision to leave Gloucester for Wasps last summer, despite the presence of Simpson at the club.
Cooper-Woolley's rise under the tutelage of former prop Dai Young has been meteoric, as shown by the fact that his selection for last Saturday's semi-final ahead of current Italian international Lorenzo Cittadini was entirely expected, while Jones' inclusion is reward for another consistent season.
Forwards: Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Tommy Taylor (Wasps), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons), Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints), James Craig (Northampton Saints), Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs), Don Armand (Exeter Chiefs), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), James Chisholm (Harlequins), Sam Jones (Wasps).
Backs: Dan Robson (Wasps), Michael Young (Newcastle Falcons), Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Christian Wade (Wasps), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Alex Lewington (London Irish), Sam James (Sale Sharks), Mike Haley (Sale Sharks).
Management: Head Coach - Ali Hepher (Exeter Chiefs), Assistant Coach - Andy Titterrell (Wasps), Assistant Coach - Alan Dickens (Northampton Saints), Team Manager - Richard Hill.
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Posted on May 23rd, 2016