Crane captains Saxons

Leicester forward Jordan Crane will captain England Saxons in Friday night's clash against Ireland A at Welford Road. [more]

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Leicester forward Jordan Crane will captain England Saxons in Friday night’s clash against Ireland A at Welford Road.

The Tigers number eight, who has previously skippered England at under-19 and under-21 levels, leads a side that includes a handful of capped players.

Saxons head coach Steve Bates said: "Jordan has captained England teams very successfully in the past.

"Playing in front of a home crowd, I’ve got no doubt he will lead from the front, which is exactly what we need.

"He has already made a big contribution to training, and I am confident he is the right man for the job."

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Crane will be joined by Leicester team-mates Tom Varndell and Ollie Smith, while the likes of Bath full-back Nick Abendanon, London Irish centre Shane Geraghty and Gloucester fly-half Ryan Lamb will also look to produce eye-catching displays.

Bates added: "Having seen the strength and experience of the Ireland side, we are fully prepared for a very tough, but very exciting, match.

"Their players have 150 caps between them, and with the likes of Shane Horgan and Alan Quinlan they have some very experienced international players."

Smith has recovered from injury to take his place alongside Geraghty in the Saxons midfield, but injuries meant neither Gloucester back James Simpson-Daniel nor Sale Sharks flanker Magnus Lund were considered.

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