Argentina v England, Salta, June 8
Wade and Kvesic set for England debuts
June 6, 2013
Wasps winger Christian Wade is set for his Test bow against the Pumas © Getty Images
Wasps winger Christian Wade and Gloucester-bound flanker Matt Kvesic will win their first caps for England against Argentina in Salta on Saturday.
England coach Stuart Lancaster has named three more uncapped players on the bench with Bath playmaker Kyle Eastmond, Sale prop Henry Thomas and recent Saracens signing Billy Vunipola also poised for their Test debuts. Northampton flanker Tom Wood captains a side that also features first Test starts for Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns, Bath hooker Rob Webber and lock Dave Attwood.
Wade's promotion comes at the end of an outstanding domestic campaign that saw him score 18 tries in 26 appearances - a prolific scoring rate that propelled him to both the Premiership's Players' Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year honours. The 22-year-old takes over the right wing berth from Saracens winger Chris Ashton who has been rested for the tour.
Kvesic fills the void left by Quins flanker Chris Robshaw, who is another of the front line players to have stayed at home this summer, and has edged out Exeter's Tom Johnson for the No.7 shirt. Joe Marler will start at loose-head prop in a late change to England's plans after Alex Corbisiero was called up by the British & Irish Lions.
"Matt Kvesic's inclusion was a difficult decision in that Tom Johnson has played well and has got experience. He has played well for me at openside and in South Africa," Lancaster said. "I think Matt has got potential for the future and I think he has shown in the Barbarians game in particular but also in his form for Worcester that he can be effective in an offensive breakdown - so retaining possession, generating quick ball - and in defensive breakdowns where he can turn over ball and slow ball up. The time is right to give him an opportunity, particularly when he is running alongside more experienced guys in Tom Wood and Ben Morgan."
Saracens' David Strettle gets the nod on the left wing ahead of London Irish's Marland Yarde with Quins Mike Brown at fullback. Bath's David Wilson completes the front row at tight-head with Wasps' Joe Launchbury set to earn his 10th cap in the second row. Northampton's Lee Dickson is favoured ahead of Saracens Richard Wigglesworth at scrum-half with Gloucester's Billy Twelvetrees and London Irish's Jonathan Joseph linking up in midfield.
"This is a big challenge but also a fantastic opportunity," Lancaster said. "It is the perfect challenge we want for this group of players. It will be Test match rugby.
"The intensity will be higher than some of the players have played in before. The speed of thought and deed, dealing with the passion and emotion of it all will be critical. It was a difficult selection to get the balance right.
"If you go back to the objectives of the tour, first and foremost it is to win both Tests - closely followed by developing experience and depth in younger players."
England: Brown; Wade, Joseph, Twelvetrees, Strettle; Burns, Dickson; Marler, Webber, Wilson, Launchbury, Attwood, Wood (c), Kvesic, Morgan
Replacements: Doran Jones, Thomas, Lawes, Vunipola, Wigglesworth, Eastmond, Foden
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