England’s second string was known as the “Saxons” but the RFU believes the name, which was introduced in 2006, is out of date and fails to reflect the diversity in English rugby.
“We have chosen to revert to the traditional name of ‘England A’ for this fixture against ‘Scotland A’ as a better representation of our team today,” an RFU spokesperson said.
The move comes after outgoing RFU chairman Andy Cosslett stated that Twickenham must “step up its efforts to improve diversity and inclusion across our game”.
Last month it was announced that an independent diversity and inclusion advisory group overseen by former England and Lions wing Ugo Monye is being set-up.
Historically, the Saxons were a group of peoples in the early Middle Ages, originally from what is now the northwest corner of modern Germany. In a British context, the term ‘Saxons’, is more readily associated with Anglo-Saxons, a combination of incoming Germanic tribes and indigenous British groups whose coming together established the concept and the Kingdom of England, and the modern English language. Historically, the Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period between about 450 and 1066.
English rugby’s ruling body feels that using the name for its A team is outdated and could alienate some.
The RFU has also distanced itself from the ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ anthem sung in support of the England team at Twickenham in recognition of its origins in slavery.