France v England - Teams

Wasps flanker one of 12 changes for final World Cup warm-up

By Graeme Mair.   Last Updated: 17/08/07 4:23pm

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Rees: fit for starting role

Rees: fit for starting role

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Wasps flanker Tom Rees has been selected for his first appearance during England's World Cup warm-up programme against France in Marseille on Saturday.

Rees missed the matches against Wales and France at Twickenham due to a hamstring strain, but has recovered to take his place in the back-row alongside Martin Corry and Nick Easter.

In England's final match before the start of their Webb Ellis Trophy defence, coach Brian Ashton has made 12 changes to the starting XV that lost 21-15 to France last Saturday.

Andy Farrell and Dan Hipkiss partner each other in the centres for the second time in three games, having also played together in the 62-5 success against Wales on August 4.

The selection of Jonny Wilkinson and Shaun Perry confirms them as Ashton's first-choice half-back partners.

Perry and lock Simon Shaw are the only players to start in all three World Cup warm-ups, while Lawrence Dallaglio is named on the bench.

Intensity

"Hopefully, the intensity will go up. For all the players, Saturday is a big evening," said Ashton.

"There are some players in here who are playing in positions where other players last week put a big marker down.

"Mike Catt had a reasonable game last week, so this is a big game for Andy Farrell and Steve Borthwick, too.

"The more I look at the nature of the World Cup, the more I am looking for players who have got mental strength, who have come through the big games before at international level."

Prop Andrew Sheridan (insect bite), flanker Lewis Moody (calf muscle) and scrum-half Peter Richards (back) are nursing injuries and were not considered for selection.

France coach Bernard Laporte has made eight changes to the starting 15 that won at Twickenham.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde comes in at scrum-half and Imanol Harinordoquy starts at number eight.

Fly-half Frederic Michalak will start for France for the first time in 16 months. Michalak, who has been sidelined by a series of knee injuries, came on as a late substitute at Twickenham.

He will partner his Toulouse team-mate Elissalde in the half-backs in place of David Skrela and Pierre Mignoni.

Veteran Toulouse lock Fabien Pelous will win his 112th cap, breaking Philippe Sella's national record.

France: 15- C Poitrenaud (Toulouse), 14- C Dominici (Stade Francais), 13- D Traille (Biarritz), 12- Y Jauzion (Toulouse), 11- C Heymans (Toulouse), 10- F Michalak (Toulouse), 9- J-B Elissalde (Toulouse); 8- I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), 7- T Dusautoir (Toulouse), 6- Y Nyanga (Toulouse); 5- J Thion (Biarritz), 4- F Pelous (Toulouse), 3- J-B Poux (Toulouse), 2- R Ibanez (Wasps, captain), 1- O Milloud (Bourgoin)
Replacements: S Bruno (Sale/ENG), N Mas (Perpignan), L Nallet (Castres), J Bonnaire (Bourgoin), P Mignoni (Clermont), D Skrela (Stade Francais), A Rougerie (Clermont).

England: 15-M Cueto (Sale), 14-J Lewsey (Wasps), 13-D Hipkiss (Leicester), 12-A Farrell (Saracens), 11-J Robinson, 10-J Wilkinson (Newcastle), 9-S Perry (Bristol) ; 1-P Freshwater (Perpignan), 2-M Regan (Bristol), 3-P Vickery (Wasps, captain), 4-S Shaw (Wasps), 5-S Borthwick (Bath), 6-M Corry (Leicester), 7-T Rees (Wasps), 8-N Easter (Harlequins)
Replacements: L Mears (Bath), M Stevens (Sale), J Worsley (Wasps), L Dallaglio (Wasps), A Gomarsall (Harlequins), O Barkley (Bath), P Sackey (Wasps).

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland).

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