England name team for Six Nations opener

Updated: February 2, 2012

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LONDON (AP) — England will give three players their debuts in Saturday’s Six Nations opener against Scotland, with Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt forming an entirely new center partnership in an overhauled lineup.

Farrell and Barritt are two of four Saracens players among the backs, with David Strettle recalled to the left wing and Charlie Hodgson restored to flyhalf for his 37th appearance and first start in four years.

Northampton’s Phil Dowson was the other new face picked by coach Stuart Lancaster on Thursday and will make his debut aged 30 at No. 8, with Harlequins’ Chris Robshaw leading the side in only his second appearance from openside.

Lock Mauritz Botha, the other Saracens player in the side, has only made one test appearance as a replacement and will start alongside Tom Palmer, while there are another five uncapped players on the reserves’ bench.

The 15 starters going for England’s first win at Murrayfield since 2004 have a total of just 236 caps between them, fewer than the Scottish forwards alone. The Scotland team as a whole boasts 501.

England: Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell, David Strettle, Charlie Hodgson, Ben Youngs, Phil Dowson, Chris Robshaw, Tom Croft, Tom Palmer, Mauritz Botha, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Alex Corbisiero.

Reserves: Rob Webber, Matt Stevens, Geoff Parling, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson, Jordan Turner-Hall, Mike Brown.

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