England Saxons will take part in high-profile games against Italy and Ireland in the New Year – that will include a first ever trip to the home of Worcester Warriors.
The Saxons will take on Italy A at Sixways Stadium on Saturday, January 29 (kick off 3.15pm) before travelling to face the Irish Wolfhounds at Ravenhill on Friday, February 4 (kick off 7.30pm).
The Churchill Cup holders beat the Irish Wolfhounds 17-13 at Bath last season and defeated Italy A 31-5 in Treviso.
“We’re delighted to be taking part in two important and demanding games early in the New Year before defending our Churchill Cup title in the summer,” said Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, who will be working alongside Andy Farrell and Simon Hardy again this season.
“The current Saxons squad has an exciting mix of youth and experience and it is a great opportunity for the players who are just outside the Senior Elite Player squad to put a marker down before the RBS 6 Nations and to take their club form onto the international stage in a Rugby World Cup year.
“The Saxons have built up a great rivalry with Italy over the last five years and I’m sure our meeting at Sixways will be a fantastic occasion for the teams and supporters.
“Worcester have been great hosts for England’s age group teams in recent years and we’re looking forward to the Saxons playing there for the first time.
“We had a really good contest with Ireland at Bath earlier this year and travelling to Belfast to play at Ravenhill will be another massive occasion in front of a passionate crowd.”
After beating Ireland 17-13 at Bath in February, England Saxons went on to defeat Italy 31-5 in Treviso before Churchill Cup victories against Russia (49-17) and USA (32-9) in Denver and Canada (38-18) in New Jersey.
The 32 man Saxons Elite Player squad includes 19 capped at senior level as well as players like prop Alex Corbisiero (London Irish, flanker Andy Saull (Saracens), scrum half Joe Simpson (London Wasps) and fly half Alex Goode (Saracens), who have progressed through England’s age group programmes in the last three years.
The Saxons fixture completes an international packed two months at Warriors with England Women and the England Under 20s men and women's teams also in action against their French counterparts during ‘Super Sunday’ at Sixways on February 27.
“Hosting the England Saxons will be one of the biggest games ever staged at Sixways and so we would like to thank the RFU for entrusting Worcester Warriors with such a high profile international fixture,” said Worcester’s General Manager Charlie Little.
“I’m sure the people of Worcester and the surrounding area will get right behind such a showpiece game. We are also keen for the whole country to really embrace this fixture with Italy and so are offering discounted ticket deals for Season Ticket holders at all Aviva Premiership and RFU Championship clubs.”
Tickets for England Saxons versus Italy A game range between £20 and £25 for adults. All Aviva Premiership and RFU Championship Season Ticket holders are entitled to tickets for £15 online at www.warriors.co.uk. All Junior tickets are priced at £10 for all areas. Community group deals are available for all rugby clubs and schools.
On sale dates and further details for England Saxons in January and ‘Super Sunday’ in February will be posted on www.warriors.co.uk in the coming days.