Doren-Jones to cap rapid England rise

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The Independent Online

Guinness Premiership rookie prop Paul Doren-Jones will make a remarkable rise from the Championship to Test match rugby when he is named in the England squad to play Argentina.

England manager Martin Johnson will reveal his selection at mid-day and Doren-Jones, who has played just 266 Premiership minutes since joining Gloucester from London Welsh, is set to be on the bench.

Johnson has been forced to make the dramatic move after David Wilson, who damaged his neck in last weekend's 18-9 defeat to Australia, joined senior tightheads Phil Vickery and Julian White on the injury list.

England's propping stocks were depleted further yesterday when David Barnes, the veteran Bath loosehead, damaged his knee in training.

Duncan Bell is likely to start his first Test in four years at tighthead while Tim Payne will remain at loosehead with Doren-Jones, by virtue of being the last-man standing, to provide cover for both positions.

Elsewhere, Johnson has dropped Leicester's Jordan Crane, the starting number eight against Australia, with James Haskell the favourite to take over although Joe Worsley is back in the squad.

Haskell and Doren-Jones were schoolmates at Wellington College but very few others in the England squad knew much about the 24-year-old before he arrived in camp on Sunday night.

"He has not been in the Premiership long. He played for Gloucester against Australia last week and all the reports from that game were very positive," said England captain Steve Borthwick.

"He has slotted into the group this week very well. Part of our role is to help new players know exactly what is expected of them in this environment.

"I could sit here and feel sorry for myself and feel sorry for the group. I can't do that. We have challenges to overcome.

"We have to be a better side this Saturday than we were last Saturday."

Argentina boast one of the most powerful scrummaging units in world rugby and their likely front row boasts the formidable front row trio of Mario Ledesma, Rodrigo Roncero and Martin Scelzo.

But England's scrum coach Graham Rowntree is confident Doran-Jones has the ability to make what would be a giant step from the foothills of a Premiership career into a Test match.

"The other coaches didn't know what he looked like until Sunday night but I have been watching Paul all season," said Rowntree.

"He can play both sides of the scrum and I think he is a true prospect for the future.

"We could be playing against easier scrums this weekend for sure, it is the deep end.

"It is a big step up but Paul is good enough and that is what we will be telling him."