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Page last updated at 10:13 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 11:13 UK

Tindall left out of England squad

Mike Tindall
Tindall's demotion is a surprise

New England manager Martin Johnson has dropped fellow World Cup winners Mike Tindall, Ben Kay and Joe Worsley from his first England elite player squad.

The trio are among 12 players - others including Dave Strettle and Nick Easter - to be demoted to the Saxons squad.

Charlie Hodgson is dropped altogether, while there are recalls for Josh Lewsey and James Simpson-Daniel among others.

New Zealand-born centre Riki Flutey, who becomes eligible for England in September, is included.

Flutey, 27, is a former Wellington Hurricanes player who has previously represented New Zealand at age-group levels and was a member of their U19 World Cup-winning team in 1999.

He also represented the New Zealand Maori before joining London Irish in 2005, moving on to Wasps last summer and being voted Player of the Year by his fellow Premiership professionals last season.

"Riki Flutey has had a fantastic year and he's there on merit as a player," Johnson said. "In the world of rugby, most teams have guys who are not born in that country.

"It's what they do on and off the field for that team that earns them respect, not where they're born or what their passport says."

As well as Flutey, Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley, London Irish lock Nick Kennedy and Leicester back-row forward Jordan Crane are the other uncapped players in the senior party.

I think we found out something about everyone who went on that tour

Martin Johnson
Hartley and Kennedy both toured New Zealand but did not feature in either Test against the All Blacks, while Crane - along with Leicester hooker George Chuter - is promoted from the Saxons squad which won the Churchill Cup this summer.

Fellow Tigers Lewis Moody and Harry Ellis are also included in the senior squad as they recuperate from long-term injuries, but Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani, who is not expected to play again until November after a serious ankle injury, is in the Saxons squad.

The only specialist number 10 in the elite party is Jonny Wilkinson, although Olly Barkley, Toby Flood and Shane Geraghty all provide cover from inside centre.

Hodgson's fall from grace, after a poor defensive display in the first Test against the All Blacks, is complete with Andy Goode and Ryan Lamb also chosen ahead of him in the Saxons squad.

"There are issues with Charlie's game at the highest level and we have let Charlie know about that and we will help him try to improve - it is up to him as well to try to improve that aspect of his game," Johnson said.

Other players to miss out on a place in either squad include Gloucester full-back Iain Balshaw, Sale winger Mark Cueto, Bristol scrum-half Shaun Perry and Gloucester winger Lesley Vainikolo.

606: DEBATE
Tindall was tipped as a possible captain for the New Zealand tour, but despite some ordinary displays against the All Blacks, Johnson insisted: "The exclusion of Tindall and Kay is not a reflection of their performances in New Zealand.

"We always knew there would be 40 plus players who could make the 32 and if they didn't make it they'd have to drop down into the Saxons.

"It was a very tough call on Mike, the same with Ben Kay and Nick Easter."

Easter, who led England in their pre-tour warm-up against the Barbarians, has paid a heavy price for missing the New Zealand tour with a hand injury, Luke Narraway impressing in his absence and Crane also leapfrogging him in the pecking order.

"Some of the players stood up and competed well and I think we found out something about everyone who went on that tour, and that is factored in to the squad we have named," Johnson explained.

Full-back Mike Brown, wing Topsy Ojo, scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth, hooker David Paice and prop Jason Hobson - all on Test duty in New Zealand - plus flanker Michael Lipman, and Dominic Waldouck, a late call-up to the tour squad, are the others demoted.

Lewsey returns to England duty for the first time since last year's World Cup, while Simpson-Daniel will hope to put his injury worries behind him as one of three wings alongside Paul Sackey and Tom Varndell.

The players will know in no uncertain terms where they stand

Martin Johnson
With the New Zealand tour marred by the allegations of sexual assault hanging over four players, Johnson admitted discipline would be a key priority when the squad meets for training in August.

"When we get together it will be one of the first things we will address in light of what has happened," acknowledged Johnson, who described the players picked for the tour, and the 64 chosen for these two squads, as "people of good character".

"Any player who is not aware of his responsibilities - and the dangers of what can happen - is probably not bright enough to be in the squad," Johnson told BBC Radio 5 Live. "The players will know in no uncertain terms where they stand."

"The allegations made against the England team were serious - we can't have that for our players, for our team, for our sport.

"There are certain things that will be non-negotiable, but there are other things you want the players to agree with and want themselves."

The RFU's disciplinary officer, Judge Jeff Blackett, is expected to complete his internal investigation into the incident by the end of this week, or early next week.

Johnson added a captain would be named nearer the time of England's next Tests, which are not until November against the Pacific Islands, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.


England elite squad:

Forwards: Tim Payne (Wasps), Andrew Sheridan (Sale), Matt Stevens (Bath), Phil Vickery (Wasps), George Chuter (Leicester), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Lee Mears (Bath), Steve Borthwick (Saracens), Nick Kennedy (London Irish), Tom Palmer (Wasps), Simon Shaw (Wasps), Tom Croft (Leicester), James Haskell (Wasps), Lewis Moody (Leicester), Tom Rees (Wasps), Jordan Crane (Leicester), Luke Narraway (Gloucester).

Backs: Josh Lewsey (Wasps), Mathew Tait (Sale), Paul Sackey (Wasps), James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester), Tom Varndell (Leicester), Dan Hipkiss (Leicester), Jamie Noon (Newcastle), Olly Barkley (Gloucester), Toby Flood (Leicester), Riki Flutey (Wasps), Shane Geraghty (London Irish), Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle), Danny Care (Harlequins), Harry Ellis (Leicester), Pete Richards (London Irish).

England Saxons squad:

Forwards: Jack Forster (Gloucester), Jason Hobson (Bristol), David Wilson (Newcastle), Nick Wood (Gloucester), David Paice (London Irish), Andy Titterrell (Gloucester), Joe Ward (Wasps), Richard Blaze (Leicester), Louis Deacon (Leicester), Chris Jones (Sale), Ben Kay (Leicester), George Skivington (Wasps), Steffon Armitage (London Irish), Tom Guest (Harlequins), Michael Lipman (Bath), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Joe Worsley (Wasps).

Backs: Nick Abendanon (Bath), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Matt Banahan (Bath), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Topsy Ojo (London Irish), David Strettle (Harlequins), Mike Tindall (Gloucester), Dominic Waldouck (Wasps), Anthony Allen (Gloucester), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Andy Goode (Leicester), Ryan Lamb (Gloucester), Ben Foden (Northampton), Paul Hodgson (London Irish), Richard Wigglesworth (Sale).




see also
England 'needed Johnson example'
23 Jun 08 |  English
England four in NZ assault probe
20 Jun 08 |  UK News
New Zealand 44-12 England
21 Jun 08 |  English
New Zealand 37-20 England
14 Jun 08 |  English
Cipriani and Flutey land awards
21 May 08 |  English
Clubs agree truce with Twickenham
15 Nov 07 |  Rugby Union


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