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Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

England call up uncapped quartet

Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 8 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT Coverage: Live on Sky Sports. Highlights on BBC Three (Saturday, 1905 GMT) and BBC Two (Sunday, 1230 GMT). Live text commentary on BBC Sport website
London Irish full-back Delon Armitage
Armitage worked with England attack coach Brian Smith at London Irish

England manager Martin Johnson has picked four uncapped players for his first game in charge against the Pacific Islanders on Saturday.

Full-back Delon Armitage, wing Ugo Monye, inside centre Riki Flutey and lock Nick Kennedy will all start, while hooker Dylan Hartley is on the bench.

Number eight Nick Easter comes in for the injured Luke Narraway and Tom Croft takes James Haskell's number six shirt.

Bath tight-head prop Matt Stevens keeps out former captain Phil Vickery.

"There are lots of new caps and new faces around but there is also some experience," said Johnson.

"We are happy with the guys we have picked. Monye and Armitage have been very impressive all season and in camp over the last 10 days.

"There are some new caps in there and it is exciting. These guys are bursting to get out on the field. It is an exciting back line.

"It is important to hit the ground running. It will be very fast and furious in the first 25 minutes. We need to control that as much as we can.

"I want to see us win. That is what we are there for."

Johnson has made a total of nine changes from the side that were thumped 44-12 by New Zealand in the summer.

There are a host of players unavailable because of injury, including fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, wing James Simpson-Daniel, flanker Lewis Moody, wing David Strettle and full-back Nick Abendanon.

And Johnson's plans were further complicated on Monday when full-back Mathew Tait and number eight Narraway were ruled out because of hamstring injuries.

The injuries have left the team light on experience in the backs, with only two players having more than 10 caps and a half-back combination with five caps between them.

Flutey, who has played for New Zealand under-19s and under-21s as well as New Zealand Maori, recently qualified for England on the three-year residency rule.

He was voted Guinness Premiership player of the year by his fellow players last season.

The 28-year-old from Wairarapa, in New Zealand's North Island, will start outside Wasps star Danny Cipriani, who is back at fly-half after his rapid recovery from a horrific ankle injury.

Cipriani partners Danny Care at half-back, the Harlequins number nine keeping the fit-again Harry Ellis on the bench.

Monye, 25, promoted from the second-string England Saxons side after injuries to Simpson-Daniel and Strettle, and the demotion of Leicester's Tom Varndell, has scored five tries in seven matches this season.

"The coaches at Harlequins are so supportive and I'm a big self believer, I think that's why I'm where I'm today," said Monye.

Wasps centre Riki Flutey
Flutey joined Wasps from London Irish in 2007
"Last season I had an injury to my back which could have been career threatening but I fought hard and now I'm back and in great shape.

"All my friends and family will be there on Saturday which will be fantastic. I have been given this opportunity so it's up to me to put in a performance to be proud of."

Kennedy has established himself as a key member of the London Irish pack since joining the club in 2001, forming a formidable line-out partnership with Bob Casey, and toured with England to New Zealand in the summer but did not feature in either Test defeat.

The 27-year-old will partner new England skipper Steve Borthwick in the second row.

I'm very proud to be getting my first cap at Twickenham," said Kennedy. "I'm really looking forward to Saturday and am getting very excited, the majority of my family will be there watching me.

"I've been working hard for London Irish and have been striving to play for my country. Training has been great, there is an enormous enthusiasm around the squad.

I've got a lot of respect for Steve as a player and as a leader - it'll be good to be on the same team as him for a change

England lock Nick Kennedy
"I've played against Steve Borthwick for the last few years, games between London Irish against Bath has always been close battles but I've got a lot of respect for Steve as a player and as a leader - it'll be good to be on the same team as him for a change."

Ellis and Tigers team-mate Toby Flood are the only backs named on the bench, with Johnson opting for five forwards in what is expected to be a physical encounter at Twickenham.

Saracens scrum-half Mosese Rauluni has been confirmed as captain of the Pacific Islands for their forthcoming Tests against England, France and Italy.

Rauluni, who led Fiji to the quarter-finals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, will be supported by the dynamic Tongan loose-forward Nili Latu as vice-captain.

England team to face Pacific Islanders:
D Armitage (London Irish); Sackey (Wasps), Noon (Newcastle), Flutey (Wasps), Monye (Harlequins); Cipriani (Wasps), Care (Harlequins); Sheridan (Sale), Mears (Bath), Stevens (Bath), Borthwick (Saracens, captain), Kennedy (London Irish), Croft (Leicester), Rees (Wasps), Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: Hartley (Northampton), Vickery (Wasps), Palmer (Wasps), Haskell (Wasps), Lipman (Bath), Ellis (Leicester), Flood (Leicester).

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see also
Pick your England XV
27 Oct 08 |  Squad Selector
Jeremy Guscott column
31 Oct 08 |  English
No fears over Hartley - Johnson
30 Oct 08 |  English
Abendanon to miss England Tests
29 Oct 08 |  English
Simpson-Daniel out of Test plans
23 Oct 08 |  Gloucester
Comeback display pleases Cipriani
01 Oct 08 |  London Wasps
Cipriani and Flutey land awards
21 May 08 |  English
Rugby union on the BBC
30 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union

related internet links:
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Telegraph England to name team to face Pacific Islands in first match under Martin Johnson - 1 hr ago
Sporting Life ARMITAGE SET FOR TEST DEBUT - 1 hr ago


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