Test debuts for England duo

Gloucester centre Anthony Allen and Bristol scrum-half Shaun Perry will make their Test debuts when England tackle World Cup favourites New Zealand at Twickenham next Sunday. [more]

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Gloucester centre Anthony Allen and Bristol scrum-half Shaun Perry will make their Test debuts when England tackle World Cup favourites New Zealand at Twickenham next Sunday.

Allen, a 20-year-old Millfield School product, has been Gloucester’s star performer during their unbeaten start to the Guinness Premiership campaign.

And like Allen, 28-year-old Perry is in only his second season of Premiership rugby after joining Bristol from National League One club Coventry.

Allen will partner Newcastle’s Jamie Noon in midfield against the All Blacks, with Perry promoted above Peter Richards, who started both Tests during the summer tour of Australia.

There are no places in the starting line-up for Josh Lewsey, Mathew Tait or James Forrester, who all suffered injuries during the past few days.

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The captaincy, meanwhile, reverts to Leicester’s Martin Corry, who starts at blindside flanker, with Pat Sanderson wearing the number eight shirt and Lewis Moody completing England’s back-row trio.

Corry skippered England last season, but Sanderson took over in Australia when the Tigers star was rested.

England head coach Andy Robinson, meanwhile, has named three vice-captains – Perry, his half-back partner Charlie Hodgson and Leicester lock Ben Kay.

There are five Leicester forwards in the pack – Corry, Moody, Kay, hooker George Chuter and prop Julian White – as England look to stave off a sixth successive defeat.

The All Blacks clash marks the opening of Twickenham’s new South Stand, which will increase capacity to 82,000, and launches an autumn series that also features appointments with Argentina and South Africa (twice).

Robinson confirmed Lewsey (knee), Forrester (knee) and Gloucester full-back Olly Morgan (shoulder) were not considered for selection, while Tait is back at his club Newcastle to continue rehabilitation after suffering a thigh injury.

England will go into battle as clear underdogs against Tri-Nations champions New Zealand, despite home advantage, and Robinson admits the game provides "a huge challenge."

Robinson said: "Anthony has really come through this season, and it is a testament to Gloucester and the Rugby Football Union academy system that he is now ready to play against the number one team in the world at the moment.

"Shaun was unfortunate not to tour Australia in the summer because of a wrist injury, but he has maintained his form for Bristol this season and it is now right that he gets his chance."

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