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Uncapped centre pairing will be key for England’s Scotland clash

| 02.02.2012

England interim coach Stuart Lancaster has made no secret of his desire to break with the past – and his first Six Nations team shows he is as good as his word.

Lancaster has named three uncapped players in his starting XV to face Scotland this Saturday – No.8 Phil Dowson and centre pairing Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt have all been rewarded for their good club form with a starting berth at Murrayfield.

It’s an decent-looking England team, with the most experienced player in the first XV being Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson who has 36 caps to his name.

Speaking to the official RFU website, Lancaster said: “”We have been impressed with how the whole group has come together in the last 10 days and we have done a lot of work on and off the field.

“Now is the time to turn all that into a performance against Scotland that we can all be proud of. It is a massive challenge – Murrayfield, the first game of the Six Nations – but one we are relishing.”

It promises to be an intriguing tussle between the old enemies as Scotland have also made big changes to the side who crashed out of the Rugby World Cup in the group stages.

Andy Robinson has made eight changes to the side who lost their final game of the tournament against England but – despite heading into the game as outsiders – the Scots could prove to be well worth backing.

The battle in the centre between England’s new-boys Farrell and Barritt and Scotland’s vastly more experienced Nick De Luca and Sean Lamont could be crucial and, if the Scottish centres can come out on top, then backing Scotland to win at 5/4 may prove a shrewd punt.

England team

15 Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
14 Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
13 Brad Barritt (Saracens)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens)
11 David Strettle (Saracens)
10 Charlie Hodgson (Saracens)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
1 Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
4 Mouritz Botha (Saracens)
5 Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)
6 Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers)
7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt)
8 Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)



Richard Anderson