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Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Ellis to make return with Saxons

Harry Ellis
Ellis has been on the sidelines since the middle of December

Leicester scrum-half Harry Ellis will play for the second-string England Saxons against Portugal next Friday to gain match fitness for the Six Nations.

The England number nine is serving a six-week ban for a dangerous tackle on Perpignan's All Blacks star Dan Carter.

The ban finishes on Sunday and Ellis has been retained in England's 32-man elite squad for the Six Nations.

Tigers team-mate Jordan Crane, demoted from the elite squad, and Bath's Nick Abendanon are also set to feature.

But veteran Leicester prop Julian White will not be involved despite being named in the Saxons party last week.

White's presence as an experienced stand-by option for the senior squad is now set to lead to a recall to Test duty in place of Matt Stevens, suspended pending the outcome of his failed drugs test.

Rather than join up with the senior squad heading out to Portugal for a week's preparation on Sunday, Ellis will join the Saxons training squad meeting on Monday.

Further additions will be added later in the week pending injury updates.

With three rearranged Guinness Premiership matches - Gloucester v London Irish, Harlequins v Northampton and Worcester v Sale - now scheduled for Saturday, 31 January, no players from those clubs are available for the Saxons.

As a consequence, there are call-ups for four members of England's Under-20 team that reached the Junior World Cup final - Saracens duo Noah Cato and Alex Goode, Bath prop Nathan Catt and Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson.

Leicester pair Dan Cole and Matt Smith, plus Bristol fly-half Ed Barnes and Leeds flanker Kearnan Myall, are also called up for the Saxons for the first time.

Saxons coach Stuart Lancaster said: "This match is a great opportunity for some of our talented young players coming through the programme and those just outside the current elite player squads to showcase their talents on the international stage and put a marker down for the future."

As well as Portugal, who are ranked No 23 in the world, the Saxons will also face Ireland A on 6 February.


England Saxons training squad:

Forwards: Nathan Catt (Bath), Dan Cole (Leicester), Jordan Crane (Leicester), Phil Dowson (Newcastle), Tom Mercey (Saracens), Kearnan Myall (Leeds Carnegie), Andy Saull (Saracens), George Skivington (Wasps), Joe Ward (Wasps), Rob Webber (Wasps), Dave Wilson (Newcastle), Ben Woods (Leicester Tigers)

Backs: Nick Abendanon (Bath), Ed Barnes (Bristol) Noah Cato (Saracens), Alex Goode (Saracens), Adam Powell (Saracens) Harry Ellis (Leicester), Joe Simpson (Wasps), Matt Smith (Leicester), Dominic Waldouck (Wasps)



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see also
Foden & Morgan get England calls
14 Jan 09 |  English
Ellis banned over Carter tackle
19 Dec 08 |  Leicester


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