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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 17:46 GMT
England select Cipriani and Croft
Danny Cipriani
Danny Cipriani will start a full international for the first time

Date: Saturday, 8 March
Kick-off: 1515 GMT
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
BBC Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBCi, Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website (video UK users only)

Danny Cipriani, Tom Croft and Lee Mears will start for England against Scotland in the RBS Six Nations encounter at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Wasps fly-half Cipriani starts his first Test at full-back, replacing Iain Balshaw, who drops to the bench.

Leicester flanker Croft, who replaced the injured James Haskell against France, is also handed his first Test start, on the blind-side.

Bath hooker Mears comes in for the dropped Mark Regan.

Wasps loose forward Haskell has failed to recover sufficiently from an ankle problem, so Luke Narraway returns to the 22 on the bench after Croft's promotion.

George Chuter is also back on the bench as reserve hooker after not featuring for England since the World Cup late last year.

Cipriani made his international bow during England's 26-19 opening Six Nations defeat to Wales at Twickenham, when he replaced the injured Mike Tindall in the centres during the second half.

We're just looking for a little bit more stability and control at the back than we had in France and hopefully Danny's going to be able to give that

England coach Brian Ashton

The 20-year-old also made a second-half appearance in the 23-19 win over Italy in Rome.

Although he favours the number 10 shirt, Cipriani has plenty of experience playing at full-back for Wasps, including in their 2007 Heineken Cup victory.

"We're just looking for a little bit more stability and control at the back than we had in France and hopefully Danny's going to be able to give that," England coach Brian Ashton told BBC Sport.

"He certainly showed when he played for the Saxons and when he played for Wasps last season at 15 that he was capable of providing that.

"Having said that, Iain Balshaw has played pretty well for us and we haven't got the best out of him and that's not his fault."

Mears has made just three previous starts in his 21 appearances for England since his debut against Samoa in 2005, his last coming against South Africa in November 2006.

His promotion could signal the end of Regan's England career, which has seen him earn 46 caps over 12 years.


Ashton described Regan as an "outstanding international player" but added that his form had slipped since the end of 2007.

"He had a fantastic year last year for us," said Ashton.

"He came back from nowhere at the age of 35, had a really good tour of South Africa and then played extremely well in the World Cup, but has not quite reached those heights since then.

"The guy who's replaced him, Lee Mears, has been outstanding week in week out for Bath since the World Cup ended and deserves his opportunity."

Ashton described Croft's selection as a "continuation" after he came on for the injured Haskell in Paris.

"He brings some interesting qualities to the game. He's probably one of the quickest guys we've got on the field and that certainly adds a different dimension to how we can use him," said the England boss.

England anticipate Wasps flanker Haskell will recover from his ankle injury in time to face Ireland at Twickenham on March 15.

Ashton's side go into the Calcutta Cup encounter in Edinburgh on the back of wins over Italy and France, but their last visit to Murrayfield ended in an 18-12 defeat in the 2006 championship.

They are currently fourth in the table - Wales lead the way as the only unbeaten side this season - and England need a big win to maintain their hopes of winning the 2008 title.

England team to face Scotland at Murrayfield:
D Cipriani (Wasps); P Sackey (Wasps), J Noon (Newcastle), T Flood (Newcastle), L Vainikolo (Gloucester); J Wilkinson (Newcastle), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), L Mears (Bath), P Vickery (Wasps, capt), S Shaw (Wasps), S Borthwick (Bath), T Croft (Leicester), M Lipman (Bath), N Easter (Harlequins)
Replacements: G Chuter (Leicester), M Stevens (Bath), B Kay (Leicester), L Narraway (Gloucester), P Hodgson (London Irish), M Tait (Newcastle), I Balshaw (Gloucester).

Simpson-Daniel gets England call
02 Mar 08 |  English
De Luca ruled out of England game
03 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani should start - Dallaglio
27 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
France 13-24 England
23 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Italy 19-23 England
10 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
England 19-26 Wales
02 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union


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