Saints trio get England Saxons call as Dickens secures coaching role

James Craig has been handed an England Saxons call (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
James Craig has been handed an England Saxons call (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Lock James Craig is one of three Saints players named in the England Saxons squad for next month’s tour of South Africa.

Kieran Brookes, a surprise omission from the England squad that will face a three-Test tour of Australia in June, and Luther Burrell are also included.

But there is no place for either Mike Haywood or Alex Waller, both of whom have enjoyed impressive campaigns at Saints.

Northampton assistant coach Alan Dickens will fulfil the same role on the Saxons tour as he is part of a coaching staff that will be spearheaded by Exeter Chiefs’ assistant Ali Hepher.

The Saxons will play South Africa’s second team in Bloemfontein on Friday June 10 and at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday June 17.

And Hepher said: “(England head coach) Eddie Jones has given us a strong development squad to take on a South Africa A side.

“The squad has a good mixture of experienced players and emerging talent.

“Playing South Africa twice in South Africa is going to be a great challenge and a significant test for us but it is also an incredibly exciting opportunity for the players and management to prove themselves.

“The series will give the players international experience and will be an important stepping stone towards international honours.

“As coaches, this is an exciting opportunity for us too, not only to coach this group of highly-talented players but also for us to gain some international rugby experience.”

Forwards: Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Tommy Taylor (Wasps), George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons), Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Saints), James Craig (Saints), Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs), Donovan Armand (Exeter Chiefs), Matthew Kvesic (Gloucester), James Chisholm (Harlequins), Sam Jones (Wasps)

Backs: Dan Robson (Wasps), Michael Young (Newcastle Falcons), Oliver Devoto (Bath Rugby), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Christian Wade (Wasps), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Luther Burrell (Saints), Alex Lewington (London Irish), Sam James (Sale Sharks), Mike Haley (Sale Sharks)

Management team: Head coach: Ali Hepher (Exeter Chiefs), assistant coaches: Andy Titterrell (Wasps), Alan Dickens (Saints), team manager: Richard Hill.