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Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Fourie to make debut as England change four for Samoa

Autumn internationals: England v Samoa
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 20 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra & online; Highlights on BBC TV (Saturday, 1900-2000 GMT, BBC Three/BBC Sport website; Sunday, 1130-1230 GMT on BBC Two/BBC Sport website); Also live on Sky Sports 1


England in good spirits for Samoa - Johnson

Leeds' South Africa-born flanker Hendre Fourie will make his first England start as one of four changes to the side that will face Samoa on Saturday.

Fourie, who won his first caps as a replacement against New Zealand and Australia, comes in for Lewis Moody, with Nick Easter becoming captain.

James Haskell starts at blind-side and David Wilson at tight-head prop with Tom Croft and Dan Cole on the bench.

The other change sees 6ft 7in Bath wing Matt Banahan start at outside centre.

Banahan, who won his previous five caps on the wing, is preferred to Delon Armitage - who remains on the bench - as an alternative at 13 to Mike Tindall, who is rested along with Moody.


"He has played a number of Tests on the wing for us and done very well," explained England manager Martin Johnson, who had contemplated using Banahan at centre on the summer tour to Australia before he picked up a two-week suspension.

"As a younger player [23] he has learnt what it is to prepare and be a Test player. His conditioning is far better than it has been and I think he is a deceptive player.

"His physical size is obvious [Banahan is 17st 9lb] but he has some skills that people maybe under-estimate. He has been very keen, been practising there and he knows his role very well."

Banahan won his last cap a year ago against New Zealand, while Haskell, who will win his 29th cap, earns his first start since the draw with Scotland in this year's Six Nations.

We didn't want to break it up too much because Samoa will be a real danger and we have got to be very good

Martin Johnson

"Tom Croft took a bit of a bang on Saturday and it is an opportunity for James to start," Johnson said. "He is playing very well."

The 30-year-old Fourie, born in Burgersdorp in South Africa's Eastern Cape, qualifies for England on residency grounds.

He spent two seasons at Rotherham from 2005-07 before switching to Leeds, who he helped return to the Premiership and then starred as they stayed in the top flight in their first season back.

Fourie was chosen for England's summer tour down under but was forced to return home after suffering calf and ankle injuries in their opening match against the Australian Barbarians.

Leeds head coach Neil Back, the former World Cup-winning England open-side flanker, believes "there are not many players who possess [Fourie's] skill set in the world game."

"There can't be any bigger thing for me, or any player, than to start a first game for your country in a Test match at Twickenham," Fourie told BBC 5 live.

"I am very excited and very proud to put on that white shirt with the number seven."

The other change in the match-day 22 sees Gloucester lock Dave Attwood return to the bench in place of Simon Shaw.

Mark Cueto

Highlights - England 35-18 Australia

"The good thing is the team is doing well and we have good depth beneath it," Johnson added. "But we want to keep the continuity.

"We have had the same team for the last four or five games and we have seen the rewards of that. We didn't want to break it up too much because Samoa will be a real danger and we have got to be very good. They have got our full attention this week."

Samoa have given England a fright in the past two World Cups, and their last visit to Twickenham in 2005 saw Moody and Alesana Tuilagi both sent off after the England flanker aimed a flurry of punches at his then Leicester team-mate in a 40-3 win for the hosts.

Easter, 32, has captained England twice in non-cap matches against the Barbarians in 2008 and 2009, but never before in a Test.

England: Ben Foden; Chris Ashton (both Northampton), Matt Banahan, Shontayne Hape (both Bath), Mark Cueto (Sale); Toby Flood, Ben Youngs (both Leicester); Andrew Sheridan (Sale), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), David Wilson (Bath), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Tom Palmer, James Haskell (both Stade Francais), Hendre Fourie (Leeds), Nick Easter (Harlequins - capt).

Replacements: Steve Thompson (Leeds), Dan Cole (Leicester), Dave Attwood (Gloucester), Tom Croft (Leicester), Danny Care (Harlequins), Charlie Hodgson (Sale), Delon Armitage (London Irish).

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see also
Beating Aussies was vital - Foden
14 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
We must get even better - Johnson
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
England 35-18 Australia
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 20-10 Samoa
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Fourie living the England dream
09 Nov 10 |  Leeds
Fourie deserves a recall - Back
10 Jun 10 |  Leeds
Banahan given two-week suspension
16 Jun 10 |  English
England call up Dowson for Fourie
09 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
England 44-22 Samoa
22 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
England 40-3 Samoa
26 Nov 05 |  Internationals
England survive Samoa scare
26 Oct 03 |  Rugby World Cup

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