Three Lions on the pitch

England football fans may well be signing 'Three Lions on the shirt' at the World Cup for the next month or so but England rugby will feature three Lions on the pitch this Tuesday. [more]

Three Lions on the pitch

England football fans may well be signing ‘Three Lions on the shirt’ at the World Cup for the next month or so but England rugby will feature three Lions on the pitch this Tuesday.

England face the Australian Barbarians in Perth in the first game of a five-match tour of Australia and New Zealand as former Lions skipper and now England team manager Martin Johnson continues his preparations for the 2011 World Cup.

Johnson, who led the Lions in 1997 and 2001, has named Lee Mears, Charlie Hodgson and Ugo Monye in his starting lineup for tomorrow’s encounter.

Mears and Monye were Test Lions last summer, while Hodsgon was a Lions tourist under Sir Clive Woodward four years earlier.

Hodgson will be delighted to start for his country once more having not featured since the summer of 2008 but both Mears and Monye are likely to be somewhat disappointed in their selection as it suggests they will miss out on Saturday’s first Test against the Wallabies.

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Mears had lost out to Northampton’s Dylan Hartley and 2005 Lion Steve Thompson earlier in the year so his selection was no real surprise but Monye’s inclusion for Tuesday’s game and likely exclusion for Saturday’s Test is somewhat of a shock.

However, with current club-mate David Strettle still nursing an injury that ruled him out of tomorrow’s match, Monye could still be asked to play two games in five days.

Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw captains England from the blindside flank, while 2009 Lion Joe Worsely is named among the replacements.

Robshaw is the only capped member of England's back five, with Leicester’s Geoff Parling partnering Gloucester’s Dave Attwood in the second row and Leeds’ South African-born and bred openside Hendrie Fourie packing down alongside Wasps No8 Dan Ward-Smith.

Mears is joined in the front row by Bath colleagues David Wilson and David Flatman, with the latter returning to the senior squad after an eight-year absence.

Olly Barkley features at inside centre, suggesting that fellow Bath midfielder Shontayne Hape could start on Saturday.

Double Lions tourist Jonny Wilkinson is still recovering from rib damage but is expected to be fit by the weekend, as are Strettle (ankle) and prop Jon Golding (ribs).

"Jon Golding, Dave Strettle and Jonny will all resume full training this week," said Johnson.

"They will run to a degree on Monday and will be back in full training by Tuesday – Jon probably by Wednesday or Thursday.

"They will all be fit by Saturday and if they are fit for full training, they are fit to go out and play."

England vs Australian Barbarians, Perth, Tuesday

15 D Armitage (London Irish)
14 M Banahan (Bath)
13 M Tait (Sale Sharks)
12 O Barkley (Bath)
11 U Monye (Harlequins)
10 C Hodgson (Sale Sharks)
9 R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks)

1 D Flatman (Bath)
2 L Mears (Bath)
3 D Wilson (Bath)
4 D Attwood (Gloucester)
5 G Parling (Leicester)
6 C Robshaw (Harlequins, captain)
7 H Fourie (Leeds)
8 D Ward-Smith (Wasps)

Replacements

16 G Chuter (Leicester)
17 P Doran-Jones (Gloucester)
18 C Lawes (Northampton)
19 J Worsley (Wasps)
20 P Hodgson (London Irish)
21 S Geraghty (Northampton)
22 D Waldouck (Wasps)

NB bold denotes Lion

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