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Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

England call up Worsley & Tindall

Date: Saturday, 14 February Kick-off: 1730 GMT Venue: Millennium Stadium
Coverage: Live on BBC ONE, full commentary on BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and the BBC Sport website


Johnson outlines how England can beat Wales

Flanker Joe Worsley and centre Mike Tindall have been named in the England team for Saturday's Six Nations game against defending champions Wales.

Worsley and Tindall replace open-side Steffon Armitage and Jamie Noon in the only changes to the side that laboured to a 36-11 win over Italy last weekend.

Armitage and Noon drop out of the squad completely while Ben Foden and Shane Geraghty also fail to make the bench.

Toby Flood comes in for Geraghty while Paul Hodgson provides scrum-half cover.

England manager Martin Johnson has resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes following the uninspiring victory over Italy at Twickenham, but he has decided to pick Worsley out of position.

The Wasps forward plays most of his rugby on the blind-side flank and last started for England on the open-side in the World Cup warm-up internationals against Wales and France in the summer of the 2007.

He has not started at all for England since the World Cup pool stages and was left out of the elite squad for the Six Nations, but he now faces the key task of keeping in-form Wales open-side Martyn Williams quiet at the Millennium Stadium.

Wasps and England flanker Joe Worsley
Worsley will make his first England start since the 2007 World Cup
"It will be difficult," said Worsley. "He's a fantastic player and it is a big 'ask'. We're all aware we will have to play a hell of a lot better to have a chance this weekend.

"It gives you some impetus when you hear what other people think, but desire to win is why people play at this level.

"I have always been like that, regardless of whether we were favourites or not, going down to Cardiff as we are now. I go out and play the same."

Johnson has turned to the 31-year-old following the injuries to Tom Rees, Lewis Moody and Michael Lipman.

He came on as a substitute against Italy and returns to the starting line-up in place of the younger of the two Armitage brothers - full-back Delon being the other - who struggled to make an impact on his debut.

"Joe has been playing very well," said Johnson. "He is a very experienced player, a big tackler and a big carrier. His form has been great all year, and we thought it was the right game for him to come and play.

"It was a tough call. Steffon played there last week. He has taken his first step in international rugby and he has a bright future, but we think Joe is the right guy for what we want to do."

Gloucester centre Tindall had been named in the starting XV to take on Italy but was replaced by Noon after suffering a back injury while working in the gym.

The 30-year-old, who claims his 57th cap this weekend, makes his first start since the tour to New Zealand, while Sale's Mathew Tait must again settle for a place on the bench.

Flood is also among the replacements after recovering from a calf injury.

The Leicester fly-half or inside centre comes in for London Irish's Geraghty, who was sin-binned against Italy minutes after appearing as a second-half substitute.

Harlequins wing Ugo Monye was back in contention after recovering from a back injury but Johnson has opted to stick with Paul Sackey and Mark Cueto out wide.

We don't have that much expectation - and we need to go there and fight

England manager Martin Johnson
Cueto scored England's fifth try against Italy on his first appearance since the 2007 World Cup final.

London Irish's Hodgson was called up to the squad on Monday after scrum-half Danny Care was ruled out with the ankle injury that saw him pull out of the Italy game.

There is still no place for fly-half Danny Cipriani, who was left out by Johnson last week after a run of patchy form.

Johnson was keen to give the 21-year-old more game time but the Wasps star was then denied a chance to impress when the England Saxons match against Ireland A on 6 February was postponed.

England have received a lot of criticism since Saturday's victory, with the performance unfavourably compared to Ireland's display in Dublin and Wales' at Murrayfield.

"The tempo of those games was pretty high," added Johnson. "We were frustrated we got bogged down a bit. But there are reasons for that, the mistakes we made and the opposition we are up against.

"We won the last game, and I would like to keep our fortunes heading in the same direction. We need to build confidence and momentum.

"We know as a squad we can play better than we did last week. It is about improving.

"I am looking forward to going away from home, and the pressure and intensity will be a big test for our team.

"The Welsh enjoy having a successful rugby team, and they are playing some attractive rugby - so it will be doubly difficult.

"We don't have that much expectation - and we need to go there and fight. We can also play - but we need to battle and quieten the crowd down."

Wales, who looked impressive on Sunday as they defeated Scotland, have delayed their announcement until Thursday as they wait on injuries to Ryan Jones, Gavin Henson and Shane Williams.

England team to face Wales:
D Armitage (London Irish); Sackey (Wasps), Tindall (Gloucester), Flutey(Wasps), Cueto (Sale); Goode (Brive), Ellis (Leicester); Sheridan (Sale), Mears (Bath), Vickery (Wasps), Borthwick (Saracens, capt), Kennedy (London Irish), Haskell (Wasps), Worsley (Wasps), Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: Hartley (Northampton), White (Leicester), Croft (Leicester), Narraway (Gloucester), Hodgson (London Irish), Flood (Leicester), Tait (Sale).

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see also
Jeremy Guscott column
10 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Roberts wary of Wales complacency
09 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales will be ferocious - Johnson
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
We must improve, admits Johnson
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
England 36-11 Italy
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 13-26 Wales
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations as it happened
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Review - 2008 Six Nations season
02 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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