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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
England hand out three new caps
Harlequins full-back Mike Brown
Brown has made a big impression with Harlequins this season
Saturday, 26 May
Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 1400 BST
Live on BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Sport website

England have given debuts to full-back Mike Brown, prop Nick Wood and lock Dean Schofield after naming their side to face South Africa on Saturday.

Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson and centre Andy Farrell return to the starting line-up behind the scrum, while Peter Richards gets the nod at scrum-half.

Wood will play alongside Sale prop Stuart Turner and 34-year-old hooker Mark Regan in the front row.

And Gloucester's Andy Hazell starts at open-side flanker in Bloemfontein.

Players from Wasps, Leicester and Bath did not travel to South Africa after coach Brian Ashton decided that their participation in last weekend's Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup finals ruled them out of contention.

England have been able to name a dangerous back division, but the absence of several key forwards has stretched their resources in the pack.

Regan came out of international retirement to make the trip, with his last cap coming in England's 51-15 defeat by Australia in 2004.


Saracens hooker Matt Cairns is on the bench, along with Bristol veterans Darren Crompton and Roy Winters and Harlequins scrum-half Andy Gomarsall.

"It is a very interesting mix of youth and experience," said Ashton.

"I have not been in this job long, and I need to know by the time we are back in England about certain individuals and how they cope in a game like this in a hostile environment."

Wilkinson, who missed training on Tuesday with a stomach upset, will be making his first England appearance since their heavy defeat by Ireland in the Six Nations, and Ashton marked him out as a key player in a side lacking in experience.

"Jonny won't have faced many bigger challenges than this," said Ashton.

"But Jonny brings massive amounts of experience, very high skill levels and great enthusiasm.

"He is a player that relishes a challenge, whether it is a personal one or a team one."

We have even been called plumbers and painters by a local newspaper

England coach Brian Ashton

Only three players who started England's last game against Wales in the Six Nations - centre Mathew Tait and wingers Jason Robinson and David Strettle - make the cut.

England's entire pack for that game was supplied by Wasps and Leicester, hghlighting the depleted nature of the squad in South Africa.

The two sides are in the same pool at the World Cup, and South Africa are expected to name a full-strength line-up on Wednesday in a bid to press home an early psychological blow.

"We expect the Springboks to be extremely physical, as always, but the fact that this is a massive opportunity for the players will hopefully be motivation enough," added Ashton.

"The atmosphere in the squad is good, even though they have been written off by everyone in the world, and have even been called plumbers and painters by a local newspaper.

"They know the enormity of the challenge, but it is a fantastic opportunity."

England: M Brown (Harlequins); D Strettle (Harlequins), M Tait (Newcastle), A Farrell (Saracens), J Robinson (Sale Sharks, capt); J Wilkinson (Newcastle), P Richards (Gloucester); N Wood (Gloucester), M Regan (Bristol) S Turner (Sale), D Schofield (Sale), A Brown (Gloucester), C Jones (Sale), A Hazell (Gloucester), N Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: M Cairns (Saracens), D Crompton (Bristol), R Winters (Bristol), P Sanderson (Worcester), A Gomarsall (Harlequins), T Flood (Newcastle), I Balshaw (Gloucester).

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