Prop Matt Stevens set for England Saxons comeback

Matt Stevens in action
Matt Stevens made his full international debut for England in 2003

Matt Stevens will play his first match in an England shirt for over two years when the Saxons face the USA in the opening Churchill Cup game on Saturday.

The Saracens forward, 28, who finished a two-year ban for cocaine use in January, will start at tight-head prop.

Stevens won the last of his 32 Test caps in 2008 but hopes his Premiership-winning form with Saracens can earn him a senior international recall.

The Saxons have made 11 changes from the team that lost to the Barbarians.

For the match at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens coach Stuart Lancaster welcomes back his Leicester and Saracens contingent following last weekend's Premiership final.

Rory Clegg of Harlequins and Newcastle's Micky Young form a new half-back partnership, Billy Twelvetrees is at inside centre with Topsy Ojo and Miles Benjamin on the wings.

Stevens will pack down with Worcester's Matt Mullan at loose-head either side of Northampton hooker Joe Gray, with Gloucester's Dave Attwood teams up with Saracens' Mouritz Botha.

Leicester's Jordan Crane captains the team at number eight and James Gaskell starts at blindside flanker.

England Saxons: M Brown (Harlequins); T Ojo (London Irish), H Trinder (Gloucester), B Twelvetrees (Leicester), M Benjamin (Worcester); R Clegg (Harlequins), M Young(Newcastle); M Mullan (Worcester), J Gray (Harlequins), M Stevens (Saracens), M Botha (Saracens), D Attwood (Gloucester), J Gaskell (Sale), T Johnson (Exeter), J Crane (Leicester, capt).

Replacements: D Paice (London Irish), K Brookes (Newcastle), G Kitchener (Worcester), J Gibson (London Irish), P Hodgson (London Irish), A Goode (Saracens), C Sharples (Gloucester Rugby).

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