Rugby Union: Mallinder wants to cement Test place

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The Independent Online
Jim Mallinder, the new England full-back, is determined that age will not be a barrier as he embarks on an international career three months after his 31st birthday.

Mallinder is among six new Test caps in the England team which faces Argentina in Buenos Aires today. The Cheshire schoolmaster will become a full-time rugby professional this summer in his pursuit of a place in England's 1999 World Cup squad. "I intend giving it everything - I want to become faster, fitter and stronger," Sale's skipper said. "Winning an England cap has fulfilled my lifetime's ambitions."

Mallinder, seven years older than the No 1 choice Tim Stimpson (on tour in South Africa with the Lions), has no plans to leave Sale. "We've experienced some great times at the club, starting with Paul Turner's entertainment years and now through John Mitchell and his considerable New Zealand influence. I hope that gaining England recognition can at least provide some compensation for Sale missing out on Europe and losing the Pilkington Cup final."

Mallinder gave a polished performance against Cordoba in England's opening tour game and scored England's third try in their narrow defeat by Buenos Aires. "As long as England were going to pick the players in form, I knew I had an excellent chance," he said.

Mallinder is Sale's first England cap since the current Lion John Bentley in 1988. Joining him today are the Wasps centre Nick Greenstock, the Bath forwards Kevin Yates and Martin Haag, and Martin Corry, of Bristol, and Saracens' Tony Diprose.

ARGENTINA (v England, Buenos Aires, today, 6.30BST): E Jurado (Rosario); T Solari (Hindu Club), E Simone (Liceo Naval), L Arbizu (Belgrano, capt), F Soler (Tala); G Quesada (Hindu Club), N Fernandez-Miranda (Hindu Club); R Grau (Gauteng Lions), F Mendez (Bath), M Reggiardo (Castres), G Llanes (Bath), P Sporleder (Curupayti), R Martin (San Isidro), P Bouza (Duendes), P Camerlinckx (Bella Vista). Replacements: G Aristide (Rosario), J L Cilley (San Isidro), C Barrea (Cordoba Athletic), O Hasan-Jalil (Gimnasia), C Promanzio (Duendes), I Fernandez-Lobbe (Liceo Naval).

ENGLAND: J Mallinder (Sale); J Sleightholme (Bath), N Greenstock (Wasps), P de Glanville (Bath, capt), A Adebayo (Bath); M Catt (Bath), K Bracken (Saracens); K Yates (Bath), P Greening (Gloucester), D Garforth (Leicester), M Haag (Bath), N Redman (Bath), M Corry (Bristol), T Diprose (Saracens), B Clarke (Richmond). Replacements: M Mapletoft (Gloucester), M Allen (Northampton), A Gomarsall (Wasps), R Cockerill (Leicester), R Hardwick (Coventry).

Referee: I Rogers (South Africa).