ENGLAND Saxons have named a side laden with power and pace for this evening’s visit of Scotland A to Kingston Park.
The English second-string are out to avenge last year’s 35-0 drubbing in Galashiels, with backs and attack coach John Fletcher expecting a feisty cross-border skirmish.
Fletcher said: “I would imagine it will be your typical Anglo-Scottish battle and you pretty much know what you are going to get.
“I played a lot of my rugby in the Borders and they will be fairly similar to the Ireland side we played last week in terms of aggression, ferocity around the breakdown and those sorts of things.
“We would not expect anything less against Scotland A, and we know we will have to play at our very best to be in with any chance of beating them.”
Delighted with the decision to stage the fixture in his native North East, the former Newcastle Falcons director of rugby added: “It is a great opportunity to see talented players from both England and Scotland have a good old hit-out in the region.
“The atmosphere for these big nights at Kingston Park is sensational.
“People talk about this part of the country and its passion for sport and from first-hand experience I always tell them the reputation is spot-on.
“Hopefully the people will come down, support the game and make a lot of noise in the process.”
No current Falcons are in the Saxons squad, although ex-Newcastle wing Tom Biggs starts and former Kingston Park prop Kieran Brookes is included on the bench.
The Scotland A side sees direct home involvement as Grant Shiells, the Falcons’ loose-head prop, lines up on the bench, while former Newcastle lock Tim Swinson is in the starting line-up.
Both players’ appearance will render them ineligible for England, for whom they both qualify, head coach Shade Munro stating: “We have the opportunity to put a marker down and show what Scottish rugby is about.”
ENGLAND SAXONS: E Daly, J May, J Tomkins, J Turner-Hall, T Biggs, G Ford, R Wigglesworth; M Mullan, J Gray, P Doran Jones, G Kitchener, G Robson, G Kruis, W Fraser, J Crane. Replacements: R Buchanan, N Wood, K Brookes, E Slater, J Gibson, J Simpson, G Lowe, K Eastmond.
SCOTLAND A: G Tonks, D Taylor, A Grove, A Dunbar, N Walker, T Heathcote, S Kennedy; A Dickinson, S Lawrie, J Welsh, T Ryder, T Swinson, S McInally, R Vernon, R Wilson (captain). Replacements: A Walker, G Shiells, G Reid, R McAlpine, J Eddie, J Stevenson, B Cairns, D Fife.