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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 13:42 GMT
Haskell to replace injured Easter
Wasps forward James Haskell
Haskell will form part of an all-Wasps back row for England
England number eight Nick Easter has been forced to pull out of Saturday's RBS Six Nations games against Wales in Cardiff because of a neck injury.

Joe Worsley will switch from blind-side flanker to take his place while James Haskell comes into the side at number six for his Test debut.

The late switch means there are three changes to the side that beat France.

Full-back Mark Cueto and outside centre Mathew Tait come in with Josh Lewsey and Mike Tindall missing out.

SIX NATIONS BLOG
BBC Wales' Sean Davies relives four great Wales wins over England

Lewsey has been struggling for form while Tindall has a knee infection.

Easter is suffering from residual pain and restriction of his movement in his neck which forced him to miss training.

Haskell was called into the squad as cover and his promotion to the starting line-up means England will field an all-Wasps back row.

"It has been an odd week," he said. "I have been at Wasps and with England, I've trained at number eight and number six, and I was never sure how Nick was going to be.

"So to find out that I was actually starting was very exciting.

Mark Cueto has played full-back recently for his club

England coach Brian Ashton

"It has been a pretty rapid ascent I suppose, but I've always tried to approach each game one at a time and learn from each performance and each area as I go.

"I just concentrate on my game and keep my head down and let others worry about the big decisions. I just want to go out and perform."

He was named in England's 28-man squad for the match against France although he did not make the match-day 22.

The 21-year-old, who stands at 6ft 3in, has been in superb form this season and played for the Saxons against Italy A and Ireland A.

He also helped England Under-21s win the Grand Slam last year.

Mark Cueto
Cueto made his England debut against Canada in 2004

England coach Brian Ashton has named Cueto at full-back despite the 27-year-old having played only eight times in that position for Sale.

"Mark Cueto has played full-back recently for his club, and looking at the way we want to play our game, we are looking to have a player who is comfortable as a footballer with the back three," said England coach Brian Ashton.

"And an added bonus is that he is the only player in our squad who is naturally left-footed, which makes a massive difference at international level when you have right- and left-footed kicking options.

"Going forward, I see Josh as a wing at international level."

Wales are favourites for the wooden spoon, having lost all four of their matches so far, while England are level on points with France and Ireland after losing just once.

Captain Phil Vickery and Tindall were ruled out on Monday with concussion and a knee problem respectively.

Jonny Wilkinson is out with a hamstring injury, meaning Newcastle colleague Toby Flood gets another start at fly-half.

The injury means he has missed 32 of England's 35 Test matches since they won the World Cup in 2003.

He will not have a chance to prove his fitness for England until the two Tests in South Africa in May.


Revised England team to face Wales, Saturday 17 March:
Mark Cueto (Sale); David Strettle (Harlequins), Mathew Tait (Newcastle), Mike Catt (London Irish, capt), Jason Robinson (Sale); Toby Flood (Newcastle), Harry Ellis (Leicester); Tim Payne (Wasps), George Chuter (Leicester), Julian White (Leicester), Martin Corry (Leicester), Tom Palmer (Wasps), James Haskell (Wasps), Tom Rees (Wasps), Joe Worsley (Wasps).
Replacements: Lee Mears (Bath), Stuart Turner (Sale), Louis Deacon (Leicester), Magnus Lund (Sale), Shaun Perry (Bristol), Shane Geraghty (London Irish), Jamie Noon (Newcastle).




SEE ALSO
Cueto happy with full-back switch
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