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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
No return to 'hell' - Sanderson
Pat Sanderson
Sanderson will lead England in place of the rested Martin Corry
England skipper Pat Sanderson is confident the summer trip to Australia will bear no resemblance to the infamous "Tour of Hell" in 1998.

Worcester's Sanderson, a debutant eight years ago, lead the side in place of Martin Corry, who is being rested along with a host of other top stars.

But Sanderson said: "This is a very different squad and a very different stage for English rugby.

"We've some pretty self-motivated guys who are at the top of their form."

England coach Andy Robinson, who named his 30-man squad on Monday, has rested about 20 first-choice players ahead of the World Cup season.

If this is a poisoned chalice give me another one
Pat Sanderson

In 1998 a similarly under-strength England lost all seven games including four Tests, the first a humiliating 76-0 defeat by Australia.

Sanderson missed that mauling but made his debut as a 20-year-old against New Zealand in Dunedin (a 64-22 defeat), winning further caps against the All Blacks in Auckland (40-10) and South Africa in Cape Town (18-0).

Eight years on, he denies suggestions that his job as captain for the two Tests against Australia on 11 and 17 June is an unenviable one.

"If this is a poisoned chalice give me another one," he said.

"This is the greatest honour you can receive in sport and, as far as I'm concerned, to captain this squad is an honour.

"We've come on an awful lot since '98 and the way we look at this tour is vastly different.

"In order to go down to Australia and win we know we have to play a good, complete brand of rugby. We know we can't just rely on forward dominance.

"But when you look at the squad and the guys we've picked - the likes of Mathew Tait, Tom Varndell and James Simpson-Daniel, hugely talented running backs who are capable of really punishing sides - we've definitely got the talent.

"International rugby is a big step up but I don't see this squad lacking in confidence."

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