Dowson and Barritt get Tour chance

ENGLAND manager Martin Johnson has handed Phil Dowson and Brad Barritt their first international starts in today’s clash with New Zealand Maori.

Both Northampton No8 Dowson and Saracens centre Barritt were late arrivals to the tour Down Under, having been promoted from the Churchill Cup-winning Saxons.

But they are set to get their chance in the final match of the trip in Napier, which Johnson has billed as an unofficial third Test.

Barritt, who only flew to Australia on Friday, comes in for Olly Barkley and will partner Mathew Tait in the midfield.

England’s team features 14 changes from the side that beat Australia in the second Test in Sydney on Saturday, with Chris Ashton the sole survivor.

“This was a great chance to get them in,” Johnson said of Dowson and Barritt. “When we got Brad we thought, ‘Let’s not bring him all this way to sit on the bench’. It was the same for Phil.”