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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Vickery on bench for vital game
England captain Phil Vickery pictured during a training session
Vickery only makes the replacements for Friday's game

England v Tonga
Parc des Princes, Paris

Friday, 28 September
Kick-off: 2000 BST
Live on BBC Radio 5live and the BBC Sport website

England captain Phil Vickery will only be a replacement for the champions' must-win World Cup clash with Tonga.

Matt Stevens stays at tight-head while Vickery, who has completed a two-game ban for tripping, replaces Perry Freshwater on the bench on Friday.

There are two changes to the starting XV, with Steve Borthwick in for Simon Shaw at lock and Lewis Moody replacing Joe Worsley at open-side flanker.

Lawrence Dallaglio returns to the bench but Jason Robinson is still not fit.

Worsley takes Moody's place among the replacements in Paris while Lee Mears is also recalled to the bench, in place of Mark Regan.

Blind-side flanker Martin Corry retains the captaincy while Mathew Tait stays at outside centre, with his Leicester rival Dan Hipkiss once again on the bench.


Vickery, named as captain by coach Brian Ashton well before the tournament, has served his two-match suspension for tripping USA centre Paul Emerick in England's opening match in France.

But Ashton said a combination of Stevens' good form and Vickery's lack of action had led to the decision to start with the Wasps prop on the bench.

"Matt Stevens has taken his opportunity pretty well," said Ashton.

"Phil has not played for two or three weeks and we thought we'd ease him back from the bench.

"In the circumstances we thought it was the right way to do it. The captaincy issue was secondary really, the main issue was the front row."

Stevens added: "I've been given three opportunities, one against South Africa, one against Samoa, and now this one. It's a massive vote of confidence from the coaches and I don't want to let them down."

Ashton said the two changes he has made in the pack were done in order to give both Shaw and Worsley a rest.

"Simon Shaw has started every game for us recently and he's been on the field for the majority of those games," said Ashton.

"We've got a second row in Borthwick who's not played a lot of rugby and he's desperate to get on the field.

It will probably be more of a challenge than last week (against Samoa) but it is something the players are very much in the mood for

England coach Brian Ashton

"Joe Worsley has picked up a bang in his neck area on a couple of occasions and we just want to manage that and keep him out of the firing line a little bit.

"Moody's not played any rugby from the start for us for a long time. He's very fresh and desperate to make impact."

Friday's clash will be Moody's first start in any game since the Heineken Cup final four months ago, and his first for England since the autumn Test against Argentina in November 2006.

Moody said: "It is just a fantastic opportunity for me, I have been waiting for this moment. I pulled my calf just before the first France game in the warm-up Tests (when he was due to start).

"It has been frustrating sat on the bench but you get what you are given in rugby and I have my chance now."

England go into the game knowing they must beat Tonga to clinch a World Cup quarter-final against Australia in Marseille on 6 October.

If they lose at the Parc des Princes they will become the first defending champions to have failed to make it out of the group stages.

Both sides have nine points but Tonga are second in Pool A on points difference.

They went into the tournament ranked as the fourth-best team in the group but surprised Pacific Island rivals Samoa before running South Africa close at the weekend.

"Tonga are no longer the surprise team in our group - they've played pretty well all the way through," said Ashton.

"I have no doubt they will be looking at this as a cup final and we've got to look at it the same way.

"We're in a knock-out game, but we are in that mode already.

"It will probably be more of a challenge than last week (against Samoa) but it is something the players are very much in the mood for."

England team to face Tonga: J Lewsey (Wasps); P Sackey (Wasps), M Tait (Newcastle), O Barkley (Bath), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); J Wilkinson (Newcastle), A Gomarsall (Harlequins); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), G Chuter (Leicester), M Stevens (Bath), S Borthwick (Bath), B Kay (Leicester), M Corry (Leicester, capt), L Moody (Leicester), N Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: L Mears (Bath), P Vickery (Wasps), L Dallaglio (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), P Richards (London Irish), A Farrell (Saracens), D Hipkiss (Leicester).

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