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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
Simpson-Daniel eager to impress
By James Standley

James Simpson-Daniel on a rare run for Gloucester on Saturday
Simpson-Daniel believes there is plenty of talent in the squad

Gloucester back James Simpson-Daniel is relishing the chance to push his claim for a World Cup place during England's two-Test tour of South Africa.

Brian Ashton's squad, who fly out to South Africa on Tuesday evening, are missing nearly 40 players for the trip.

"It's very easy to say 'oh you're missing this, that and the other', and fair enough we are," he told BBC Sport.

"But if players contribute something the coaches like, they could play themselves into the World Cup squad."

England meet the Springboks in Bloemfontein on 26 May, with the second Test taking place in Pretoria on 2 June.

The world champions have been hit hard by the decision not to pick players from Leicester and Wasps, who meet in the Heineken Cup final on 20 May, and Bath, who are in the European Challenge Cup final the day before.

It's a fantastic group of guys and there's a huge amount of talent there

Gloucester centre James Simpson-Daniel

There are concerns the tour could turn out like the infamous "Tour of Hell" in 1998, when a youthful England side were beaten 76-0 by Australia, but Gloucester second row Alex Brown insisted the players were not thinking along those lines.

"England have been written off for the tour. The media is already saying it's going to be a 'tour de farce', so we've got nothing to lose and everything to gain," he told BBC Sport.

"We can go out here and really play some good rugby and make our stake for the World Cup squad."

Gloucester, who were hammered 44-16 by Leicester in the Premiership final on Saturday, supply seven players after Peter Buxton's dislocated thumb ruled him out of the trip.

MISSING IN ACTION: The England stars and hopefuls who will not be in South Africa
LEICESTER: Martin Corry, Julian White, George Chuter, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody, Louis Deacon, Dan Hipkiss, Tom Varndell

WASPS: Phil Vickery, Tom Rees, Tom Palmer, Joe Worsley, James Haskell, Danny Cipriani, Josh Lewsey, Paul Sackey, Lawrence Dallaglio, Simon Shaw

BATH: Lee Mears, Matt Stevens, Steve Borthwick, Olly Barkley, Danny Grewcock, Nick Abendanon

INJURED: Mike Tindall, James Forrester, Andrew Sheridan, Harry Ellis, Mike Catt, Mark Cueto, Charlie Hodgson, Olly Morgan, Dan Ward-Smith, Peter Buxton

WITHDREW: Ben Cohen

Simpson-Daniel, who has eight England caps, is still only 24 but his career has been hampered by injury and his last cap came against Samoa back in 2005.

"I can't wait. Looking through the squad it's a fantastic group of guys and there's a huge amount of talent there," he said.

"I want to get a run of games if I can and I'm hoping that chance might come.

"If I can produce a good game then maybe I'll get a run, hopefully stay injury free and get my form right."

Brown won his only cap for England on last summer's tour of Australia.

After that match former coach Andy Robinson said some of the players featured "won't play for England again", and Brown is delighted to have been given another shot at international rugby.

"It's a great opportunity for everyone to say 'look at me'," he said. "There's nothing to lose."

SEE ALSO
England delay decision on Buxton
14 May 07 |  English
Freshwater faces surgery lay-off
14 May 07 |  English
Balshaw replaces Cohen for tour
08 May 07 |  English
Cohen out of SA tour & World Cup
04 May 07 |  English
SA tour unfair on England - Catt
03 May 07 |  English
Robinson to captain England squad
01 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Catt injury adds to England woes
27 Apr 07 |  English


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