Balshaw eyes recall

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Iain Balshaw launches his campaign for an England recall when he makes his long-awaited debut for Leeds this afternoon at home to Worcester in the Zurich Premiership.

The 25-year-old flyer moved to Headingley from Bath last summer, but he has since been sidelined by a groin injury which eventually required two operations.

To make the squad for next month's internationals against Canada, Australia and South Africa, Balshaw knows he has to perform consistently for Leeds. "It's a boost to know you're still thought of by the England set-up," said Balshaw. "But I'll need six to eight weeks of playing for Leeds to get back to top speed."

Leeds will give a first start to Tim Stimpson at full-back after two appearances off the bench, but Diego Albanese is ruled out with a groin strain and Tom Palmer is also sidelined, with a foot injury.

Worcester make only one change to the side who beat Harlequins at Sixways last weekend with Mark Gabey replacing the injured Leon Greeff in the back row.

Saracens, disrupted by the loss of the England flanker Richard Hill for at least six months, welcome back Simon Raiwalui, Dan Scarbrough and Mark Bartholomeusz for their home game with Northampton. They have also signed fly-half Glen Jackson from Bay of Plenty, and the New Zealander is expected to make his debut in a fortnight. Meanwhile, the Saints wing John Rudd has been demoted to the bench to accommodate 20-year-old John Clarke, not England World Cup winner Ben Cohen.

Wasps, who edged Saints 10-9 last weekend, include wing Edd Thrower at home to Newcastle. Matt Burke, the Falcons' Australian import, has recovered from a shoulder injury and replaces Dave Walder at full-back. But prop Ian Peel (back), hooker Matt Thompson (neck) and flanker Phil Dowson (knee) all miss out. Lock Stuart Grimes is fit again following a groin problem, so Mike McCarthy switches to blindside flanker.

Comments