4 Nov 2008

Flutey set to start for England

6:12 am on 4 November 2008

The former Hurricanes rugby player Riki Flutey looks set to make his debut for England this weekend when they start their Novemebr international test series with a match against the Pacific Islands at Twickenham.

The new England manager Martin Johnson could include up to five uncapped players in his match-day 22.

The Wasps centre, Flutey is set for the number 12 shirt, while another New Zealand convert, the Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley could also feature.

Flutey, who recently qualified for England on the three-year residency rule, was voted Guinness Premiership Player of the Year by his fellow players last season.

The Junior All Black is set to start outside Wasps team-mate Danny Cipriani and Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care, a half-back combination with five caps - and just one start apiece - between them.

Flutey's club coach at Wasps, Shaun Edwards, has "absolutely no doubt" that the 28-year-old can make the step up to Test rugby.

Edwards says he's the perfect professional in his preparation, a leader who is thoughtful in analysis of the opposition and vocal on the field when tactics have to be changed.