Bristol scrum-half Shaun Perry will captain England in tomorrow night's A international against Ireland at Gloucester while Worcester's Shane Drahm keeps his place in the starting line-up.

England A coach John Wells has hailed Perry's "outstanding" form which many believe should have landed him a place among the senior England 22 for Saturday's Six Nations Championship appoint-ment with Ireland.

Wells said: "Shaun has come out of the blue into the international reckoning, but his form for Bristol this season has been outstanding and he has been justly rewarded.

"His enthusiasm and banter have helped pull this team together, and he fully deserves to be appointed captain."

Perry's team contains several capped senior internationals, including Wasps full-back Mark Van Gisbergen, Leicester centre Ollie Smith and Sale forward Chris Jones.

Wells said: "A team fixtures against Ireland are among the toughest you can get. It will be a very hard game but one we are looking forward to. Playing in front of the Gloucester crowd will help motivate the players, who are all eager to put in a good performance for the supporters, the country and themselves ahead of the Churchill Cup in June."