Nick Easter to captain England against Samoa

Nick Easter will captain England in Saturday's Investec Test against Samoa after manager Martin Johnson made four changes from the team that beat Australia.

Leeds openside flanker Hendre Fourie has been handed his first Test start in place of regular captain Lewis Moody, who has been given a week's rest.



Matt Banahan, who won his previous five caps on the wing, has been preferred to Delon Armitage as Mike Tindall's outside centre replacement.



Blindside flanker James Haskell, who has not featured yet this autumn, and tight-head prop David Wilson will both start, with Tom Croft and Dan Cole moved to the bench for England's first meeting with Samoa since the 2007 Rugby World Cup.



Otherwise, Johnson has retained the core of the team that sealed a record 35-18 victory over the Wallabies last Saturday.



Easter has previously captained England in non-cap internationals against the Barbarians in 2008 and at the end of last season but he has never led his country into a Test match.



Johnson's biggest call this week was at outside centre. Armitage provided cover for the position in England's recent back-to-back victories over the Wallabies.



But England's attack coach Brian Smith has long identified Banahan, already a lock-turned-wing, as a potential Test-class outside centre.



Banahan will form an all-Bath midfield partnership with Shontayne Hape, while Leicester pair Ben Youngs and Toby Flood continue in the half-backs.



Tom Palmer and Courtney Lawes get the chance to further their blossoming second row partnership, with Dave Attwood back on the bench and poised to win his second cap.

Johnson was unsurprisingly keen to put Saturday's victory behind them to focus on producing a professional performance against unfancied Samoa.

"It's about picking the best team to play this week against Samoa," he said.



"They are a very dangerous side and could have won that game against Ireland at the weekend. They have got our full attention this week for this game."



Johnson is satisfied Banahan is ready to excel at outside centre.



"He's played a number of Test matches on the wing and done very well," said the England boss. "As a young player he has learned what it is to come in and be a Test player. His condition is far better than it has been.



"The physical side is obvious but I think he has skills as well which people maybe underestimate.



"He's been very, very keen and has practised very well."



Johnson was particularly happy with Saturday's performance as the culmination of long-term improvement.

He said: "The good thing is that we played well in the last game and have done okay in the game before that (26-16 defeat by New Zealand). The team is doing well but we want to keep the continuity and we've seen the rewards of that.



"We don't want to break it up too much.



"The performance (against Australia) didn't come out of the clouds, it was a build-up of what we've been doing for a while.



"We had a good day, we could have scored more tries and they could have scored more tries. But it's nice as a coach not to be talking about 'if onlys' after a game."

England team to play Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday, November 20; kick-off 2.30pm:

B Foden (Northampton); C Ashton (Northampton), M Banahan (Bath), S Hape (Bath), M Cueto (Sale); T Flood (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); A Sheridan (Sale), D Hartley (Northampton), D Wilson (Bath), C Lawes (Northampton), T Palmer (Stade Francais), J Haskell (Stade Francais), H Fourie (Leeds), N Easter (Harlequins, capt).



Replacements: S Thompson (Leeds), D Cole (Leicester), D Attwood (Gloucester), T Croft (Leicester), D Care (Harlequins), C Hodgson (Sale), D Armitage (London Irish).





Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices