Sam Burgess, Henry Slade and Calum Clark to debut
Tom Hamilton
August 10, 2015

Sam Burgess will be one of three England players making their Test debut in the QBE international against France at Twickenham on Saturday.

Burgess, who has been named at inside centre, will make his international Test bow alongside Henry Slade and Calum Clark. Burgess joined Bath from rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs and, despite playing most of his rugby in the back-row for Bath, will partner Slade in the centres.

Clark is named in the back-row alongside captain Tom Wood and Ben Morgan at No.8 who makes his first return to competitive rugby since he broke his ankle while on Gloucester duty in January.

Elsewhere, in what is an experimental England line-up, Mako Vunipola, Kieran Brookes are named as the props with Rob Webber at hooker while George Kruis and Geoff Parling are in the locks.

Owen Farrell partners Richard Wigglesworth at half-back - Danny Cipriani is on the bench - with Anthony Watson, Jonny May and Alex Goode forming the back three.

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess© David Rogers/Getty Images

"We are really excited to play our first international at Twickenham and to put into practise some of what we have been working on for the last six weeks," Lancaster said. "The lads are itching to get out and play a match and these games give us a chance to look at a wide range of players and combinations before we narrow down our selection further.

"Tom is one of several leaders in the squad and he captained the team well in Argentina when Chris Robshaw was rested so this is an ideal opportunity to take the armband at Twickenham against what will be a quality French team.

"I'm delighted for the new caps and for Ben Morgan, who has worked so hard to get back to fitness following his injury."

Saturday's match is the first of England's first three Rugby World Cup warm-ups. Following Saturday's match, England travel to Paris next weekend to face France in the return leg, a game which will be Lancaster's last chance to assess his squad before he has to name the final 31-man World Cup party by August 31. England then return to Twickenham to play Ireland on September 5.

England starting XV: Alex Goode, Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Sam Burgess, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Rob Webber, Kieran Brookes, George Kruis, Geoff Parling, Tom Wood (captain), Calum Clark, Ben Morgan

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Alex Corbisiero, David Wilson, Dave Attwood, James Haskell, Danny Care, Danny Cipriani, Billy Twelvetrees

© Tom Hamilton

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