Rugby Union: Olver rises to England captaincy early: Hall's leadership overlooked as selectors pick experienced party for Canada

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The Independent Online
JOHN HALL'S successful tenure of the England A captaincy availed him nothing when the England rugby union selectors announced their tour party to Canada last night. Instead John Olver, the senior team's reserve hooker since 1989, will take charge, writes Steve Bale.

The squad of 30 had been due for disclosure at Twickenham today but weekend speculation fuelled by the players themselves, who already knew the selectors' decisions, prompted the change of plan.

Olver and Hall are among 11 full internationals who are making the Canadian trip. The itinerary has still not been published, though the tour starts in May and ends in June. Originally England were due in the United States as well, but that leg was cancelled because the USA Rugby Union could not afford to host a tour.

The one dramatically elevated mewcomer is the centre John Fletcher, who plays for Tyne- dale in the North First Division - equivalent to a fifth division nationally. This is not so much taking a flier as going into orbit, though he did make a good impression for the North against the South-West last December.

Originally the Rugby Football Union intended awarding caps for the Tests against Canada and, until the cancellation, the USA. But once the extent of England's likely Lions representation became evident, that decision was rescinded. This makes the tour a less valuable consolation prize for those not among the English 16 for New Zealand.

TOUR PARTY: Full-backs: A Buzza (Wasps), *D Pears (Harlequins). Wings: A Adebayo (Bath), N Beal (Northampton), S Hackney (Leicester), *C Oti (Wasps). Centres: G Childs (Wasps), *P de Glanville (Bath), J Fletcher (Tynedale), D Hopley (Wasps). Stand-offs: P Challinor (Harlequins), P Grayson (Waterloo). Scrum- halves: *S Bates (Wasps), M Dawson (Northampton). Props: D Garforth (Leicester), M Hynes (Orrell), G Rowntree (Leicester), *V Ubogu (Bath). Hookers: K Dunn (Wasps), *J Olver (Northampton, capt). Locks: A Blackmore (Bristol), *M Johnson (Leicester), *N Redman (Bath), A Snow (Harlequins). Back Row: N Back (Leicester), M Greenwood (Wasps), *J Hall (Bath), S Ojomoh (Bath), *T Rodber (Northampton), *D Ryan (Wasps). * denotes full international.

Rugby, page 28

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