Former New Zealand rugby league international Shontayne Hape will make his England rugby union debut when he lines-up as the only new cap in the first Test against Australia at the Subiaco Oval in Perth on Saturday.
The Bath centre was drafted into the England squad for the 2010 RBS 6 Nations, but failed to get a start. Now he will partner Gloucester’s Mike Tindall in a powerful midfield.
Hape has already recorded two Test victories over Australia in rugby league – he won 14 Test caps for New Zealand as well as playing for the New Zealand Maoris 13-a-side team – and will be hoping for a good start to his union representative career.
The 29-year-old Auckland-born Hape grabbed a try at Twickenham in the pre-tour, uncapped victory over the Barbarians and wins his first cap having completed the necessary residency qualification.
If he can cement a place in the England side then it could possibly lead to a return to Australia in 2013 with the British & Irish Lions on their 125th anniversary tour. Hape will be surrounded by seven Lions tourists in the England starting line-up, with a certain Jonny Wilkinson among the replacements.
Wilkinson has recovered from the rib injury that forced him to leave the field in Toulon’s Amlin Challenge Cup final defeat against Cardiff Blues on 23 May and is selected on the bench. Toby Flood will start in the No 10 shirt.
Flood’s Leicester Tigers team mate Lewis Moody will lead the side and is joined in the back row by 2009 Lions test flanker Tom Croft, who makes it half-a-dozen Tigers in the 22.
15 Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
14 Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
13 Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby)
12 Shontayne Hape (Bath Rugby)
11 Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
10 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins)
1 Tim Payne (London Wasps)
2 Steve Thompson (CA Brive)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
4 Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
5 Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
6 Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
7 Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers) CAPTAIN
8 Nick Easter (Harlequins)
16 George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
17 David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
18 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
19 James Haskell (Stade Francais)
20 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
21 Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon)
22 Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks)