England test for Fylde pair

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IT’S a big night for the England Counties rugby union side as they take on the Ulster Bank International team this evening at Preston Grasshoppers’ ground (kick-off 7.30pm)

Fylde team-mates Mike Waywell and Chris Briers will both proudly wear the England red rose – it could have been more from the Ansdell club, but lock Gareth Rawlings had to withdraw because of a broken arm, which has ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Hooker Jonny Roddam was also invited to play, but had to turn it down because of work commitments.

The England Counties side will be captained by Wharfedale’s Rob Baldwin, who said: “I’m really looking forward to it. There seems to be a lot more experience in this group of players, a few older heads.

“There’s a lot of bulk in the side that we’ll definitely need to get into these Irish lads, who are very direct and confronta-tional.

“The key to success is for everyone to come with an open mind, get to know each other as quickly as possible and just muck in.”

Squad: Forwards: Dave Allen (Blackheath), Rob Baldwin (Wharfedale), David Dickinson (Tynedale), Matthew Hall (Blaydon), Tom Mantell (Macclesfield), Lewis McGowan (Sedgley Park), Robbie Kalbraier (Blaydon), Robbie Hurrell (Stourbridge), Sam Wilkes (Cinderford), Sam Shires (Tynedale), Lee Starling (Ealing Trailfinders), Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon).

Backs: Phil Chesters (Ealing Trailfinders), Andrew Henderson (Barking), Peter Hodgkinson (Ealing Trailfinders), Ross Laidlaw (Rosslyn Park), Philip Woodhead (Wharfedale), Chris Briers (Fylde), Harry Peck (Tynedale), Owen Bruynseels (Ealing Trailfinders), Mike Waywell (Fylde), Tom Wheatcroft (Ealing Trailfinders).