Calum Clark - Saxons skipper © Getty Images
Rugby News Clark skippers Saxons against Wolfhounds
It may be Calum Clark's first England Saxons appearance on Saturday evening, but that has not stopped the flanker being handed the captain's armband for the clash with the Irish Wolfhounds.
The 24-year-old, who has captained both the Saints on regular occasions and England Under-20 in the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship final, has impressed with his leadership and motivation since arriving in camp, according to Joe Lydon, the RFU's head of international player development.
“Calum Clark has been a positive influence from the moment he arrived in camp, he commands the respect of the group and I’m sure he will lead from the front,” he said. “The players in this squad have worked very hard in a short week and there will be a lot of tremendous talent from the Aviva Premiership on show this Saturday and against Scotland A in Glasgow on Friday week.
“Players can make an immediate step from the Saxons into the senior side but we’re also looking at the development of those players with the longer term potential to push for places in England’s World Cup squads in 2015, 2019 and beyond.
“First and foremost, though, we want to win against the Wolfhounds and Scotland 'A'. The recent history of these games tells us it will be hard work against two fiercely competitive teams.”
Clark leads a Saxons squad which includes three of his club mates from Franklin's Gardens. Alex Waller makes his Saxons debut - the loosehead prop's first appearance at any England representative level - while tighthead prop Tom Mercey returns to the England second team for the first time in four years.
Sam Dickinson is also in line for his first Saxons appearance after having been named on the bench.
Saturday's game at Kingsholm kicks off at 5pm and is being shown live on Sky Sports 1.
ENGLAND SAXONS TEAM TO PLAY IRISH WOLFHOUNDS
Saturday, January 25th, 2014
Kick off 5:00pm
15 Elliot Daly (London Wasps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath)
13 Matt Hopper (Harlequins)
12 Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
11 Charlie Sharples (Gloucester)
10 Freddie Burns (Gloucester)
9 Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
1 Alex Waller (Northampton Saints)
2 Jamie George (Saracens)
3 Tom Mercey (Northampton Saints)
4 Charlie Matthews (Harlequins)
5 George Kruis (Saracens)
6 Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)(capt)
7 Luke Wallace (Harlequins)
8 Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
16 Dave Ward (Harlequins)
17 Nathan Catt (Bath)
18 Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
19 Elliott Stooke (Gloucester)
20 Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints)
21 Dave Lewis (Exeter Chiefs)
22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
23 Rob Miller (Sale Sharks)