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Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Dowson handed England A captaincy

Phil Dowson
Phil Dowson first captained the Saxons against Italy in February 2008

Newcastle Falcons number eight Phil Dowson has been chosen to lead England Saxons against Portugal at Edgeley Park this Friday night.

And Saxons coach Stuart Lancaster says he totally deserves the honour.

"Phil has been in outstanding form this season," said Lancaster. "He has the respect of his peers, both at Newcastle and within the Saxons camp.

"He leads by example and is intelligent enough to make the right calls and pull the team together."

Dowson, 27, is skipper for the first of two friendlies (the second is against Ireland A in Dublin the following Friday (6 February, 1930 GMT). And he is tipping his Saxons teammates to impress.

"We have a very talented group of players," he said. "We want to play fast, running rugby.

"We have so much speed and talent out wide, plus the exuberance of youth."

Also looking to catch the eye of England coach Martin Johnson will be Leicester Tigers trio Tom Varndell, Harry Ellis and Jordan Crane, along with Bath's versatile back Nick Abendanon.

But another Tigers man Ben Woods has been forced to withdraw from the squad due to a left calf strain sustained in Leicester's weekend Heineken Cup match against the Ospreys.

Squad to face Portugal


Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)*, Phil Dowson (Newcastle Falcons, capt), Tom Mercey (Saracens), Kearnan Myall (Leeds Carnegie), Andy Saull (Saracens), George Skivington (London Wasps), Joe Ward (London Wasps), Rob Webber (London Wasps), Dave Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)


Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)*, Ed Barnes (Bristol Rugby), Noah Cato (Saracens), Alex Goode (Saracens), Adam Powell (Saracens), Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers)*, Joe Simpson (London Wasps), Matt Smith (Leicester Tigers), Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers)*, Dominic Waldouck (London Wasps).

* Denotes capped player

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see also
Ellis to make return with Saxons
21 Jan 09 |  English

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