Ed Slater to captain England for mid-week Crusaders clash
Leicester Tigers's second-row Ed Slater is set to captain England for their mid-week clash against Crusaders
Ed Slater hopes Tuesday’s game against Super Rugby side Crusaders will help boost morale within the squad after the Leicester Tigers’ second-row was named captain for the clash.
Stuart Lancaster is using the midweek match to give a run-out to those players on the fringes of his large touring party, with Danny Cipriani starting over Stephen Myler at fly-half.
People like Ed have been excellent to work with – they’ve been patient and this is their big stage
Flanker James Haskell is recalled to the squad, having started the first Test, while Anthony Watson will make his first international start on the wing, opposite Ben Foden.
England, runners up in this year’s Six Nations, have already lost the three-Test series with the All Blacks after narrow defeats in the opening two clashes.
And captain Slater, who is chosen to lead England on his international debut, says that the side’s main objective on Tuesday is simply to win.
“This is a big opportunity and Stuart has spoken about lifting the spirit,” said Slater.
“We’re under no illusions about what’s happened – we’ve lost the last two games and this is a chance for us to lift the spirit in the camp.
“We’ve been close in the last two Test games and guys are really eager to make their mark in this game.
“Our focus first and foremost is to play well as a team, but we definitely need to get that win.”
England forwards coach Graham Rowntree added: “We have a competitive squad and a big squad and that’s the reason we’ve brought so many guys – to have a look at them in training and to play in this game.
“People like Ed have been excellent to work with – they’ve been patient and this is their big stage.
“We haven’t yet finalised things for the final Test, so there is a lot to play for.”
England side to face Crusaders
England: Goode (Saracens); Foden (Northampton), Trinder (Gloucester), Barritt (Saracens), Watson (Bath); Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Dickson (Northampton); Waller (Northampton), Gray (Harlequins), Thomas (Bath), Slater (Leicester, capt), Attwood (Bath), Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Kvesic (Gloucester), Haskell (London Wasps).
Replacements: Ward (Harlequins), Catt (Bath), Sinckler (Harlequins), Paterson (Sale Sharks), Wigglesworth (Saracens), Myler (Northampton), May (Gloucester), Pennell (Worcester).