PREVIEW: England v Barbarians
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: England flyhalf prodigy Marcus Smith will have the huge task of steering the sie when they meet the Barbarians in a friendly match at Twickenham.
The Harlequins flyhalf, who regularly trained with the England senior side in recent seasons, will play at 10 with former England U20 scrumhalf Alex Mitchell inside him.
Joe Marchant, scorer of 11 Premiership tries for his club this season, is named at centre outside Newcastle Falcons’ Johnny Williams at 12.
Former England U20 Piers O’Conor will start on the right wing after an impressive first season at Bristol Bears with Josh Bassett, Wasps’ top try scorer this season, on the left wing.
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Newcastle Falcons Simon Hammersley, who will join Sale Sharks next season, is named at fullback. He has been among the outstanding players in his position during this season’s Premiership.
Teimana Harrison is the only full England international to start the match and will play at No.8 with Ben Curry and Alex Dombrandt alongside him in the backrow. Harrison has five caps to his name with his last England Test coming in 2016 against Australia.
Tommy Taylor and Paul Hill are the only other two players in the 23-man squad to have been capped for England and are named as finishers.
Ross Harrison, Tom Dunn and Ehren Painter will all start in the front row.
Josh Beaumont, in his fourth Barbarians fixture, will captain the side with Bath Rugby’s Elliott Stooke named alongside him in the second row.
Head coach Jim Mallinder said: “Preparations have gone really well this week. It’s a new group of players and coaches but we have come together and had some really good training days and we are looking forward to the game on Sunday.
“We have got real balance in the squad between some experienced Premiership players, some with international caps and a lot of youth that have come through the system and played at England U18 and U20 level, but also have played really well for their clubs.
“This game will be massive for them and you can see their motivation and desire. They all have really deserved the opportunity this weekend.”
On the opposition, Mallinder said: “With the Barbarians you have got to expect the unexpected. We have seen their squad full of world-class players and we know they will be doing world-class things on the pitch. We have got to embrace that challenge but we have to concentrate on our own game and play as a team.”
On Beaumont as captain, he added: “I think Josh Beaumont is a great player, a very good leader and has experience of playing in these fixtures. I’ve watched him play for Sale Sharks this season, he’s had a terrific season and I’m really looking forward to him leading the team on Sunday.”
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England: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Piers O’Conor, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Alex Dombrandt, 5 Josh Beaumont (captain), 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Tom Ellis, 21 Ben White, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Ben Loader
Barbarians: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Malaka Fekitoa, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Steven Luatua, 4 James Horwill (captain), 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 David Heffernan, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Facundo Isa, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Brock James, 23 Filipo Nakosi.
Date: Sunday, June 2
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 15.30 (14.30 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Alex Ruiz (France), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)