Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Rugby Union

Four debuts and a Cipriani return for England

Martin Johnson has included four debutants - Delon Armitage, Ugo Monye, Riki Flutey and Nick Kennedy - in the England team to start against the Pacific Islanders on Saturday.

Johnson's first squad selection as the England team boss also includes a potential fifth debutant in Dylan Hartley, the uncapped Northampton hooker who has been included on the bench.

Kennedy, the London Irish lock, toured with England to New Zealand in the summer but did not feature in either Test defeat.

He will start in the second row alongside captain Steve Borthwick after being preferred to Wasps duo Tom Palmer and Simon Shaw.

Armitage will start at full-back with Monye, who has been in electric form for Harlequins this season, on the left wing and Flutey at inside centre.

Flutey, the former Junior All Black and New Zealand Maori, qualified to play for England on residency grounds in September and he has been promoted straight into the team.

Jamie Noon will start on Flutey's right shoulder at outside centre, while Danny Cipriani and Danny Care link up in the half-backs.

Up front, Harlequins' Nick Easter has returned to the side at number eight with dynamic Leicester flanker Tom Croft preferred to James Haskell on the blindside.

In the front row, Bath tight-head prop Matt Stevens has kept out former captain Phil Vickery while Lee Mears retained the hooker's jersey despite competition from Hartley.

The new arrivals leave England light on experience in the back division, with only Jamie Noon and Paul Sackey boasting a caps total in double figures.

On top of the three debutants, Danny Care only made his Test debut in the summer while Cipriani has started just one game for England.

Johnson said: "There are lots of new caps and new faces around but there is also some experience.

"We are happy with the guys we have picked. Monye and Armitage have been very impressive all season and in camp over the last 10 days.

"There are some new caps in there and it is exciting. These guys are bursting to get out on the field. It is an exciting back line.

"It is important to hit the ground running. It will be very fast and furious in the first 25 minutes. We need to control that as much as we can.

"I want to see us win. That is what we are there for."