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England 14:30 New Zealand

Armitage boost for England

Full-back passed fit to face Scotland

Last Updated: 09/03/10 2:06pm

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Armitage: Passed fit

Armitage: Passed fit

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England full-back Delon Armitage has won his race to be fit in time to face Scotland in the RBS Six Nations clash at Murrayfield.

Armitage had been a doubt for the Calcutta Cup match after damaging his ribs against Ireland - with Gloucester's Olly Morgan initially called up as cover.

However, the 26-year-old has now been passed fit to start the match, with Northampton's Ben Foden having to be content with a place on the bench.

England manager Martin Johnson said: "Delon proved his fitness yesterday and trained vigorously."

While Armitage has recovered from injury, lock Simon Shaw has definitely been ruled out with Louis Deacon taking his place.

The inclusion of Deacon is one of two changes made by Johnson, with Joe Worsley getting the nod ahead of Lewis Moody in the back row.

Worsley came off the bench against Ireland and the tough-tackling Wasps flanker is preferred for his defensive qualities.

And Johnson admitted that the decision to include Worsley had nothing to do with the way Moody had been playing.

"It was a very tough call. It is not a reflection at all on how Lewis has played," said Johnson.


"It is more of a reflection on the strength and depth of the players we have in the squad.

"We felt it was the best call to put Joe in the starting team and have Lewis on the bench to make an impact.

"They are two different players. They can both play six and seven. There is not a weakness in Lewis' game but Joe's defence is good and his ball-carrying is particularly strong.

"It was the toughest selection we have had as a group. That is not because we lost the last game but the squad we have now puts pressure on players to perform."

Moody, who will leave Leicester for Bath at the end of the season, is joined on the bench by Steve Thompson after Lee Mears was ruled out through an injury suffered in training.

Exciting Northampton lock Courtney Lawes is also set for his first Six Nations appearance after being named among the replacements, while Ben Youngs is poised to make his debut.

Youngs has been selected ahead of Paul Hodgson on the bench to provide cover for Danny Care, with the Tigers scrum-half set to follow in the footsteps of his dad Nick, who was capped six times.

Johnson, who celebrates his 40th birthday today, has also named James Haskell in his starting XV in the aftermath of the much-publicised "club v country" row with Stade Francais.

England: 15 D Armitage, 14 M Cueto, 13 M Tait, 12 R Flutey, 11 U Monye, 10 J Wilkinson, 9 D Care, 1 T Payne, 2 D Hartley, 3 D Cole, 4 L Deacon, 5 S Borthwick, 6 J Haskell, 7 J Worsley, 8 N Easter
Replacements: 16 S Thompson, 17 D Wilson, 18 C Lawes, 19 L Moody, 20 B Youngs, 21 T Flood, 22 B Foden

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