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The BBC's Ian Robertson
"Clive Woodward has wisely resisted the temptation to play Austin Healey at fly-half"
 real 28k

England centre Mike Tindall
"He's been my mentor down at the club"
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Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 15:46 GMT
England name two new caps

Head on: Captains Keith Wood and Matt Dawson


England have named two new caps in the side to face Ireland in the opening match of the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.

Six Nations Championship
The pre-tournament favourites have called up Northampton wing Ben Cohen and Bath centre Mike Tindall, both 21, to bolster an injury ravaged back line.

Mike Catt joins his teammate in the centre to win his 40th cap, with out-of-form Will Greenwood failing even to make the bench.

Ben Cohen: Ben Cohen: Outstanding season
Jonny Wilkinson retains his place at fly-half following main rival Paul Grayson's withdrawal with a shoulder problem.

In the forwards, Bristol's Garath Archer and Simon Shaw of Wasps step in to replace first-choice locks Martin Johnson and Danny Grewcock, who are also out with injuries.

Tindall has probably the most daunting task of the debutants, coming into the side to replace the talents of Jeremy Guscott, who retired during the World Cup.

Mike Tindall: Mike Tindall: Filling Jeremy Guscott's place
And Cohen, nephew of England 1966 World Cup hero George, has had a massively impressive Premiership season, suggesting that Dan Luger may find it a hard task to re-earn his place in the side when he returns to fitness.

Also uncapped, but among the replacements, is Bath wing Iain Balshaw. Bedford scrum-half Andy Gormarsall returns to favour after a three-year absence, also with a place on the bench.

Meanwhile, there was no place for Liam Botham, son of cricketer Ian, in the England A side to face Ireland A.

The England A team boasts seven senior internationals, including Greenwood and captain Tony Diprose.

Fitness fears

England's preparations have been hit by a string of injuries to key personnel, prompting suggestions they are playing too much rugby.


Lawrence Dallaglio: Injury warning
Former captain Lawrence Dallaglio is convinced the national team are suffering the after-effects of a gruelling year.

"After the World Cup, the southern hemisphere went straight into a rest but we went straight into our season and it's proved very difficult," he said.

"Rugby really is a one-game-a-week sport. Things are being done to try and change that in the future.

"Once that happens, I'm sure the players and coaches will be able to go out on the field and give their absolute best. The fans will see fewer players getting injured and the best side will be out on the field."

Team

M Perry (Bath), A Healey (Leicester), M Tindall (Bath), M Catt (Bath), B Cohen (Northampton), J Wilkinson (Newcastle), M Dawson (Northampton, capt), J Leonard (Harlequins), P Greening (Sale), P Vickery (Gloucester), G Archer (Bristol), S Shaw (Wasps), R Hill (Saracens), N Back (Leicester), L Dallaglio (Wasps).
Replacements: I Balshaw (Bath), A King (Wasps), A Gomarsall (Bedford), M Corry (Leicester), J Worsley (Wasps), T Woodman (Gloucester), N McCarthy (Gloucester).

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See also:
31 Jan 00 |  Six Nations
England: Must try harder
31 Jan 00 |  Six Nations
It's England's to lose
31 Jan 00 |  Six Nations
England: player profiles
31 Jan 00 |  Six Nations
Irish look for U-turn
31 Jan 00 |  Six Nations
Ireland: player profiles
31 Jan 00 |  Six Nations
Gatland's Irish question
31 Jan 00 |  Six Nations
Take the Munster path
31 Jan 00 |  Six Nations
Woodward's last throw of the dice
01 Feb 00 |  Six Nations
Ireland resist wholesale change
31 Jan 00 |  Rugby Union
Grayson out of England squad
Links to other Six Nations stories are at the foot of the page.