Allen faces big date at rugby HQ

Lewis Allen
Lewis Allen
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Preston Grasshoppers full-back Lewis Allen gets a place in the Lancashire starting line-up as the Red Rose side take on Cornwall at Twickenham on Sunday for the final of rugby’s County Championship.

Allen’s Hoppers’ team-mate Pete Altham is on the bench, with Fylde’s Adam Lewis taking over from up front in the starting XV.

However, Altham is expected to get game-time in the match which kicks off at noon and acts as a curtain-raiser to the clash between England and the Barbarians later in the afternoon.

Lancashire coach Mark Nelson is relishing the challenge against old rivals Cornwall, who have a season ticket to Twickenham having reached five finals in a row.

He said: “A lot of our players have experience of playing at Twickenham in a county final and that will suit us.

“We are well aware of Cornwall’s strengths and I know their coach Graham Dawe very well and he will have them well drilled up front.

“That is where the first battle lines will be drawn.

“We have to get into their pack of forwards to allow a supply of possession to our backs.”

The Lancashire coach added: “We have done the first part by qualifying for the right to play at Twickenham and now we have reached the final stage and we know what job we have to do.”

The side will be skippered by Evan Stewart, who is leaving Fylde to join Vale Of Lune from next season.

Lancashire: Allen (Preston Grasshoppers) Armstrong, Briers, S Rawlings, Bingham (Fylde) Johnson, Stelmaszek (Sale FC) Birchall (Sale FC) Burtonwood, Lewis (Fylde) Birtwell (Sedgley Park) Tomlinson (Rossendale) Goodman (Sedgley Park) Stewart (Fylde) Ailes (Sale FC). Replacements: Altham (Preston) Matthews (Sedgley Park) Griffiths, Smith, Wilkinson (Fylde) Davies (Sale) Collins (Sedgley Park).