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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 09:52 GMT
England players emerge unscathed
Brian Ashton
Ashton can breathe a sigh of relief
England begin preparations for their Six Nations clash in Ireland without further injury worries after 14 players came through club matches unscathed.

Six of coach Brian Ashton's starting XV started matches at the weekend, as did all seven players named on the bench.

But Olly Morgan, Josh Lewsey, Jason Robinson, Andy Farrell, Danny Grewcock and Magnus Lund all emerged intact.

Flanker Joe Worsley was due to have started in Wasps' win over Sale, but ended on bench duty and did not play.

Worsley missed England's win against Italy nine days ago because of a neck injury, but he dismissed any fears about his fitness.

He said: "I haven't been able to do any contact work all week, so that is why I didn't start. I fancied a few minutes, but I've burnt myself in the past after being injured, so it was better to rest.

ENGLAND PLAYERS IN-ACTION
Morgan (Gloucester): played 80 mins
Lewsey (Wasps): 80 mins
Tindall (Gloucester): injured
Farrell (Saracens): 80 mins
Robinson (Sale): 80 mins
Wilkinson (Newcastle): injured
Ellis (Leicester): 10 mins
Freshwater (Perpignan): no match
Chuter (Leicester): rested
Vickery (Wasps): rested
Deacon (Leicester): rested
Grewcock (Bath): 80 mins
Worsley (Wasps): unused sub
Lund (Sale): 80 mins
Corry (Leicester): rested

Mears (Bath): 80 mins
White (Leicester): 80 mins
Palmer (Wasps): 80 mins
Rees (Wasps): 80 mins
Perry (Bristol): 80 mins
Flood (Newcastle): 80 mins
Tait (Newcastle): 80 mins

"I would probably have rather got on for 20 minutes, but I'm pleased with the work I've done afterwards," added Worsley, following a 30-minute training session after the game.

Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson missed Newcastle's agonising 22-21 defeat at Bristol due to what the Falcons had termed "bumps, bruises and strains".

But director of rugby John Fletcher has no doubt about his prospects for Dublin.

"Jonny is fine," Fletcher said. "He will be fine for England, so everyone can rest easy.

"He came back to us from two massive Test matches, and your body is going to be a bit sore after that, but he will be fine."

Of the other members of England's starting XV to face Ireland, Farrell, Grewcock, Robinson, Lund, Lewsey and Morgan all played the full 80 minutes for their respective club sides.

Leicester scrum-half Ellis started the game against Worcester on the bench, and came on for the last 10 minutes.

And all seven players named as replacements for the trip to Croke Park played the whole match for their clubs.

Hooker Lee Mears, prop Julian White, lock Tom Palmer, flanker Tom Rees, scrum-half Shaun Perry, fly-half Toby Flood and centre Mathew Tait came through without picking up injuries.

Meanwhile, England, who fly out to Dublin on Thursday, will receive a history lesson from former Ireland international Conor O'Shea about the significance of playing at Croke Park.

O'Shea's father Jerome won three All-Ireland Gaelic Football final medals with Kerry.

The stadium is the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association which only lifted its ban on non-Gaelic sports, like rugby union and football, in 2005.

In 1920, British soldiers killed 14 people inside the stadium including Gaelic Football player Michael Hogan.

"In one way, England must treat it as just another game," O'Shea, now the RFU's academy director, told the Daily Telegraph.

"But it will be more than just another game for Ireland."




SEE ALSO
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