Mercer on bench for England

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Former Old Brodleians junior Zach Mercer is set to win his first England cap against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Bath No 8 is named on the bench for the first of the autumn Quilter Internationals.

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones named his side today and Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) and Owen Farrell (Saracens) are co-captains in a starting XV which includes 413 caps.

Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs) will make his starting debut for England while uncapped players Mercer and Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs) are named as finishers.

Mercer is the 21-year-old son of former Halifax RLFC player and coach Gary Mercer, the New Zealander who used to live in Northowram, Halifax.

Mercer joined the Brods when he was four. He moved to Scotland as a 10-year-old when his dad got a job with Glasgow Warriors.

He was captain of the England team that completed the grand slam in the 2017 Under-20 Six Nations and led the team at the 2017 Junior World Cup, scoring the winning try in the semi-final against South Africa.

England lost to New Zealand in the final but his performances earned Mercer a nomination for World Rugby Junior Player of the Year. He has made 23 appearances for Bath.

Mercer has returned to the Brods in recent times for the junior section annual presentation day.