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England coach excited by newcomers

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iol spt jan27 Lancaster

London – England coach Stuart Lancaster said Monday he'd no qualms about selecting as many as three uncapped players in his side for their Six Nations opener against France in Paris this weekend.

Injuries mean the trio of Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson and Luther Burrell, all of whom have yet to make their maiden Test appearance, could feature in the backline when England take the field at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Meanwhile Jonny May, who is contesting a place on the wing with Nowell and Watson, has just one England appearance to his name.

However, Lancaster was confident all his new recruits will, if selected, rise to the challenge of one of the Six Nations' toughest assignments.

“I've never shied away from giving people without much experience opportunities. At some point you have to do it,” Lancaster said.

“I've never been afraid of giving people opportunities Ä this time two years ago I selected seven players with no caps for Scotland away,” added Lancaster as he recalled his first Test in charge of England, a 13-6 win at Murrayfield.

“There is a balance to strike, but I've always been reasonably confident to pick inexperienced players if I feel they're ready.

“For me it's exciting to give young players opportunities, particularly if they've been performing well and showing it consistently at their clubs.

“At some point you have to make the step. There will be some people with less experience in the France game.”

Lancaster, who has guided England to two successive wins over France in the tournament, continued: “You can watch as many games as you like, but it's only when you coach the players and talk to them one on one that you get a feel for whether they have the temperament to play in a game like this.

“I trust my instincts in that regard.”

England, who've finished runners-up in both of their Six Nations under Lancaster, are due to name their side on Thursday as are France, looking to bounce back after finishing bottom of the Championship table last season. – Sapa-AFP


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