- England Saxons
teamname = England Saxons
union = Rugby Football Union
coach = flagicon|ENG
from = 2006
top scorer =
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England Saxons is the current name of England's men's second national rugby union team. The team has previously been known by a number of names, such as England B, Emerging England and, most recently, England A. The Saxons play a key role in the development of emerging talent, allowing players to gain experience in an international environment and to show that they have the ability to perform at Test level for the England first team.
England Saxons is one of three sides that regularly compete in the annual
Churchill Cupcompetition, the others being the full national teams of Canada and the United States. Since 2006, they have also played two matches, against Ireland A and Italy A, in parallel with the full Six Nations Championship.
The Saxons are currently coached on a part-time basis by
Steve Bates, Coaching and Technical Director of Newcastle Falcons, assisted by the Rugby Football Union’s National Academy coaches, Graham Rowntreeand Simon Hardy.
England's second team was known as England B until 1992, when it was renamed as England A. In 2000, as part of its long-term strategic plan, the RFU re-examined the role of the 'second team' and decided that a change of name was desirable. Several names were considered – e.g. England Aces and England Bloods – before the name England Saxons was chosen from a short-list of possibles. The change of name took effect from mid-May 2006, just before the start of that year's Churchill Cup.
The Saxons are seen as an integral part of the RFU's development process: [cite web |url=http://www.england-rugby.com/englandrugby/index.cfm?fuseaction=News.News_Detail&storyid=13981 |title=England A becomes England Saxons |date=
2006-05-18|publisher=England Rugby] quote|"England Saxons is a key part of the development pathway to the senior side ...
The future success of rugby in England depends, to a large extent, on the next best 15 players.
The England Saxons will give up and coming players a platform to perform in an international environment and to show that they can make the step up when required."|Andy Robinson (England head coach), 18 May 2006
England Saxons games do not count as full internationals as players are not capped.
Participation in international competition
England A / Saxons have participated in the Churchill Cup since its inception in 2003. Under the current format, they play three games, two at the pool stage and one on finals day. The Saxons also play two matches each season against teams from the other Six Nations countries (
France, Scotland, Ireland, Italyand Wales), the games being played on the same weekends as Six Nations Championship matches. Since 2006, the Saxons' opponents in these games have been Ireland Aand Italy A.
England Saxons 2008 squads
Martin Johnsonnamed a 32 man saxons squad on 1st July 2008 : [cite web |url=http://www.rfu.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/RFUHome.England_Detail/StoryID/18872 |title=England Saxons training squad for Italy A |date= 2008-02-04|publisher=England Rugby ]
* [http://www.england-rugby.com England Rugby]
* [http://www.barclayschurchillcuprugby.com Barclays Churchill Cup]
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