Monye handed England chance

Lions tourist Ugo Monye has been handed a chance to get his international career back on track ahead of this year's World Cup. [more]

Monye handed England chance

Lions tourist Ugo Monye has been handed a chance to get his international career back on track ahead of this year’s World Cup.

The Harlequins wing featured in two of the Lions’ three Tests in South Africa two summers ago but injury and a drop in form has seen him fall out of favour with England ever since.

Having lost his first-team place to Northampton’s Chris Ashton, Monye also appears to be behind Mark Cueto, Matt Banahan and David Strettle in the England pecking order with just four months to go until the global gathering in New Zealand.

But the Lions’ leading try scorer in 2009 now has an opportunity to impress England team manager Martin Johnson on the big stage after he was named in a 24-man squad to face the Barbarians this Sunday.

Monye is one of two Lions in the squad – with new Saracens signing Charlie Hodgson the other – while Johnson and his coaching staff have selected a total of 13 uncapped players for the first of his side’s World Cup warm-up fixtures.

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Exeter Chiefs flanker Tom Johnson is the most notable inclusion following an impressive first season of Aviva Premiership rugby as England have opted for a squad with an average age of just over 24.

Eight are graduates of the England Under 20 sides that reached IRB Junior World Championship finals in 2008 and 2009 and there are two 20-year-olds in the shape of props Joe Marler of Quins and Kieran Brookes of Newcastle.

Worcester’s promotion to the Premiership has been immediately rewarded with call ups for lock Graham Kitchener and prop Matt Mullan, while Gloucester duo James Simpson-Daniel and Luke Narraway have a chance to revive their international careers.

Saturday’s Premiership Final means Johnson was unable to select players from either Leicester Tigers or Saracens.

"It’s a great opportunity for all the players who are looking to force their way into Martin Johnson’s plans for the World Cup and those who will go on to defend the Churchill Cup with the England Saxons next month," said Stuart Lancaster, the England Saxons coach who will take charge of the squad for Sunday’s non-capped fixture.

"We face a very big challenge against the Barbarians, who have a very experienced squad in terms of their average age and number of caps.

"But there’s a great deal of quality in the England system at the moment and a lot of these young players will get a chance to benchmark themselves against the best. We’ve seen that in the way the likes of Ben Youngs, Courtney Lawes and Alex Corbisiero have taken their chances recently.

"A lot of the players have played in big games recently both in Europe and the Aviva Premiership. If we combine them with some of the more experienced players like Paul and Charlie Hodgson, Ugo Monye and James Simpson-Daniel, it should be an exciting combination."

England Squad vs Barbarians

Forwards

Dave Attwood (Gloucester Rugby)
Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)
Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)
Paul Doran-Jones (Gloucester Rugby)
Carl Fearns (Sale Sharks)
James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)
Joe Gray (Harlequins)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Graham Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Matthew Mullan (Worcester Warriors)
Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby)
David Paice (London Irish)

Backs

Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Rory Clegg (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks)
Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints)
James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby)
Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)

England are set to name their starting line up on Wednesday.

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