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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK
England roll out big guns
Martin Johnson pictured during training in Perth on Tuesday
Martin Johnson will captain England from the second row
England coach Clive Woodward has announced a full-strength team to face Georgia in their World Cup opener on Sunday.

Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, skipper Martin Johnson and number eight Lawrence Dallaglio will all feature, alongside scrum-half Matt Dawson.

Kyran Bracken will start on the bench but Woodward hopes to give him a run at some point during what could be an embarrassingly one-sided affair.

"We had to pick one of them (the scrum halves)," said Woodward.

"It's hard to choose between them and we're very lucky to have both of them.

"Dawson starts but if it goes the way we hope it goes Bracken will feature at some stage."

Woodward is expected to give game time to all 22 players in the match squad, but he would not be drawn on how long star players like Wilkinson, Johnson and Dallaglio would play.

Sledging is commonplace these days and we have all been smiling about it
Clive Woodward reacts to SA criticism

"I don't for one second believe it's going to be a rout," said Woodward.

"It's a massive game for them and a huge game for us, our first at this World Cup."

Centre Mike Tindall echoed Woodward's warning that no mercy will be shown.

"Before we came out, all the physical sessions we did taught us that if you're going to shy away from the physical contact that's when you're going to get hurt," Tindall said.

"You've just got to go flat out, smash into people and win the contact."

Woodward deflected recent criticism of captain Johnson.

South African skipper Corne Krige recently branded Johnson one of the "dirtiest" players in world rugby.

But Woodward said the comments were far from an insult.

"We see such comments as positive feedback - banter - when you read about it you just have to smile," said Woodward.

"The reaction in the team-room was just one of amusement. Sledging is commonplace these days and we have all been smiling about it.

"We just sit here and politely cop this rubbish. But I'd be annoyed it any of the England players retaliated, we just have to take the higher ground."

England face the Springboks in Pool C's crucial clash on Saturday 18 October.

England: J Lewsey, J Robinson, W Greenwood, M Tindall, B Cohen; J Wilkinson, M Dawson; T Woodman, S Thompson, P Vickery, M Johnson (capt), B Kay, R Hill, N Back, L Dallaglio.

Replacements: M Regan, J Leonard, D Grewcock, L Moody, K Bracken, P Grayson, I Balshaw.

Links to more England stories


England coach Clive Woodward
"These players need to get this first game out of our system"

England's Josh Lewsey
"I'm really looking forward to it"


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