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Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 13:49 UK

Charlie Hodgson and David Strettle back for England

Charlie Hodgson runs with the ball during training with England at Twickenham last week
Hodgson is back in favour after two years in the international wilderness

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson and wing David Strettle will play for England for the first time since 2008 in Sunday's non-cap match against the Barbarians.

Saturday's Premiership final between Leicester and Saracens means a number of players are unavailable.

Number eight Nick Easter captains the side, with three uncapped players - centre Shontaye Hape, prop Jon Golding and lock Dave Attwood - set to start.

The uncapped Joe Simpson and Dan Ward-Smith are both on the bench.

"We have picked a strong team," said England boss Martin Johnson, who also confirmed that Lewis Moody will captain England on the up-coming tour of New Zealand.

"The Leicester boys play on Saturday but some guys haven't played since May 8 and some guys have had a long season - (Northampton winger) Chris Ashton has probably played the most games so it was simple to leave him out this week.

Da Baron

"It is exciting to see Jon Golding playing for England, same as Dave Attwood at four and Shontayne, who was around our squad in the Six Nations but didn't get a chance, for whatever reason."

Only 10 players who featured in England's last match, against France in the final game of the Six Nations, are in the 22-man squad for Sunday's game at Twickenham.

Mike Tindall and Mark Cueto provide experience in the three-quarters while Ben Foden continues at full-back.

London Irish open-side Steffon Armitage starts in the back row alongside James Haskell and Easter, while Gloucester prop Paul Doran-Jones starts alongside Golding and Leeds-bound hooker Steve Thompson in the front row.

Bath back Olly Barkley, who has not represented England since 2008, is on the bench after recovering from a broken leg which wiped out the first half of his season.

Hodgson gets his chance in the absence of Toby Flood, who is in action the day before with Leicester in the Premiership final, and Jonny Wilkinson, who was injured in Toulon's Challenge Cup final defeat by Cardiff Blues last weekend.

His recall completes a remarkable return to favour for the Sale number 10, who was dropped in 2008 because he became considered to be a liability in defence.

Hodgson was hauled off after 50 minutes of the first Test on the ill-fated 2008 tour to New Zealand, with stand-in manager Rob Andrew icily suggesting "some bits of Test rugby aren't optional".

But Martin Johnson has been impressed by the improvement Hodgson has made to his defence over the past 24 months and his experience has also counted in his favour.

"Charlie has been around Test level for a number of years," said Johnson.

Saracens-bound Harlequins winger Strettle and Bath back Barkley both played their last Tests, alongside Hodgson, in Auckland in 2008.

Strettle has been plagued by a series of foot injuries but, like Barkley, ended the domestic season looking sharp.

"Dave Strettle is a guy who has been around the squad but he got injured then ill so he couldn't tour last year. It is good to see him back," said Johnson.

"The same with Olly, who has had his injury problems, but his form at the end brought him right back into contention."

England: Ben Foden (Northampton Saints); Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby), Shontayne Hape (Bath Rugby), David Strettle (Harlequins); Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks), Danny Care (Harlequins); Jon Golding (Newcastle Falcons), Steve Thompson (CA Brive), Paul Doran-Jones (Gloucester Rugby), Dave Attwood (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), James Haskell (Stade Francais), Steffon Armitage (London Irish), Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Replacements: Lee Mears (Bath Rugby), Tim Payne (London Wasps), Dan Ward-Smith (London Wasps), Joe Worsley (London Wasps), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), Olly Barkley (Bath Rugby), Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks).

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see also
Wilkinson fit to face Australia
26 May 10 |  Rugby Union
England tour pay row is settled
21 May 10 |  Rugby Union
England pick nine untried players
11 May 10 |  English
England line up Australia Tests
18 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Sheridan ruled out of second Test
16 Jun 08 |  English

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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES Easter skippers England - 4 hrs ago
London Evening Standard Hodgson handed England chance - 40 hrs ago
Clubcall Experienced pair back for England - 43 hrs ago
Observer Hodgson back for England after hiatus - 44 hrs ago
RBS Six Nations Golding, Hape and Attwood all start for England - 46 hrs ago


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