Rugby World Cup France 2007

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

England coach named his team for World Cup opener

According to official sources, England boss Brian Ashton named his squad for the defending champion's Rugby World Cup opener against the United States in Lens on Saturday.

Ashton was forced into a late change after Jonny Wilkinson's new injury jinx struck with the flyhalf suffering a twisted ankle in training here Tuesday.

"Indeed, Jonny Wilkinson twisted his ankle in training this morning and is not available for selection," Ashton expressed.

"I think he is going for a scan this afternoon to determine the nature and the extent of the injury and until tomorrow there will be no further medical update."

Bath's Olly Barkley will inherit the number 10 shirt, with Saracens' Andy Farrell lining up on the bench. And despite Wilkinson's absence Ashton was in bullish mood ahead of the game at Lens' Felix-Bollaert ground.

"We've picked a XV that we think will do a job against the USA," he stated.

In all there were six modifications from the side that lined up to face France in the second of England's World Cup warm-ups against the hosts in Marseille last month.

Ashton reintroduces Lawrence Dallaglio in place of Nick Easter to the all-Wasps back row alongside Joe Worsley and Tom Rees, while Noon and Mike Catt combine at centre with Andrew Sheridan taking over on the front row from Perry Freshwater.

Leicester's Ben Kay meanwhile is favoured over Bath captain Steve Borthwick to start alongside Simon Shaw in the second row.

It's good to remember that Josh Lewsey will be earning his 50th cap.

England (15-1)

Mark Cueto (Sale); Josh Lewsey (Wasps), Jamie Noon (Newcastle), Mike Catt (London Irish), Jason Robinson (unattached); Olly Barkley (Bath), Shaun Perry (Bristol); Lawrence Dallaglio (Wasps), Tom Rees (Wasps), Joe Worsley (Wasps); Simon Shaw (Wasps), Ben Kay (Leicester); Phil Vickery (Wasps, capt), Mark Regan (Bristol), Andrew Sheridan (Sale)

Replacements: George Chuter (Leicester), Matt Stevens (Bath), Martin Corry (Leicester), Lewis Moody (Leicester), Peter Richards (London Irish), Andy Farrell (Saracens), Mathew Tait (Newcastle)

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