Two changes for England

Noon and Armitage make way for new men

Last Updated: 11/02/09 10:13am

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Tindall: Returning

Tindall: Returning

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Martin Johnson has brought Joe Worsley and Mike Tindall into England's starting XV to play Wales on Saturday.

"Joe has been playing very well. He is a very experienced player, a big tackler and a big carrier. His form has been great all year, and we thought it was the right game for him to come and play."
Martin Johnson Quotes of the week

Wasps flanker Worsley came on as a substitute in the RBS Six Nations opener against Italy at the weekend.

Steffon Armitage made his international debut in that 36-11 triumph at Twickenham but failed to flourish and he has been dropped from the match squad altogether for the trip to face the defending champions.

Worsley, who plays predominantly as a blindside flanker, has been pressed into action in the number seven jersey following the loss of Tom Rees, Lewis Moody and Michael Lipman.

Strengths

Despite not having started a game for his country since the group stages of the 2007 World Cup, Worsley has shown his quality as an openside flanker before.

He starred most famously in the role out-playing the retiring Neil Back for Wasps against Leicester in the 2005 Guinness Premiership final and Johnson has no doubt he will fit the bill in Cardiff.

"Joe has been playing very well. He is a very experienced player, a big tackler and a big carrier. His form has been great all year, and we thought it was the right game for him to come and play," Johnson said.

"It was a tough call. Steffon played there last week. He has taken his first step in international rugby and he has a bright future.

"But we think Joe is the right guy for what we want to do."

Battle

Tindall has recovered from a back injury, meanwhile, and replaces Jamie Noon at outside centre.

"It is nice to have him back - and we hope he will last until Saturday," quipped Johnson. "We know as a squad we can play better than we did last week. It is about improving.

"I am looking forward to going away from home, and the pressure and intensity will be a big test for our team.

"The Welsh enjoy having a successful rugby team, and they are playing some attractive rugby - so it will be doubly difficult.

"We don't have that much expectation - and we need to go there and fight. We can also play - but we need to battle and quieten the crowd down."

Toby Flood takes over from Shane Geraghty on the bench after recovering from a calf injury, while Paul Hodgson provides cover at scrum-half in place of Ben Foden and Luke Narraway replaces Worsley.

Grand Slam champions Wales began the defence of their title with a 26-13 win away to Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday and are set to name their team on Thursday.

England team: 15 D Armitage (London Irish) 14 P Sackey (Wasps), 13 M Tindall (Gloucester), 12 R Flutey (Wasps), 11 M Cueto (Sale Sharks), 10 A Goode (Brive), 9 H Ellis (Leicester), 8 N Easter (Harlequins), 7 J Worsley (Wasps), 6 J Haskell (Wasps), 5 N Kennedy (London Irish), 4 S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), 3 P Vickery (Wasps), 2 L Mears (Bath), 1 A Sheridan (Sale Sharks).
Replacements: 16 D Hartley (Northampton), 17 J White (Leicester), 18 T Croft (Leicester), 19 L Narraway (Gloucester), 20 P Hodgson (London Irish), 21 T Flood (Leicester), 22 M Tait (Sale Sharks).

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