Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Shocked Bristol Winger Gets Late Call for England; Christophers to Face South Africa

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Shocked Bristol Winger Gets Late Call for England; Christophers to Face South Africa

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

PHIL CHRISTOPHERS was today coming to terms with the shock of being told he will be pulling on the England No 11 shirt to take on South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Bristol wing won his only cap to date in the surprise victory away to Argentina last summer and gets his chance to make his home debut after James Simpson-Daniel was ruled out by glandular fever.

Christophers is the only change in the England team that beat Australia and said: "I was only told this morning I was in.

"I was preparing to leave the squad and start to prepare for playing against Bath for Bristol this weekend and it's come as a real shock. I was disappointed not to be picked against New Zealand but James is a really good player and did very well.

"There are a number of great wingers trying to get in the team and it's up to me to prove some points this weekend. Scoring against Argentina in my first match was fantastic and it gave me a huge confidence boost.

"I can only go out against South Africa and try to do my best."

Coach Clive Woodward admitted Christophers had come close to making the team to face New Zealand two weeks ago before Simpson-Daniel won the vote.

Woodward said: "When I was choosing the leftwing at that point Phil was very much in my thoughts but we opted for James.

Phil was very unlucky not to start against New Zealand.

"He had a great game for us against the Barbarians last season and did particularly well against Argentina but now he's getting his opportunity at home.

"He's an outstanding young player, very bright and intelligent. I'm very excited for him."

While Christophers is at the start of his international career, Saturday's international will mark the 99th cap for Harlequins prop Jason Leonard, the most capped forward in world rugby. …

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