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Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Six Nations: Hendre Fourie wins England squad place

Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Saturday, 12 February Kick-off: 1430 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, Red Button and BBC Sport website from 1400; listen on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary online and on mobiles

England flanker Hendre Fourie
Fourie has won four caps for England

Leeds flanker Hendre Fourie will return to the England squad for Saturday's Six Nations game against Italy after Joe Worsley was released to his club.

Wasps flanker Worsley, who came off the bench during Friday's victory over Wales, is one of 12 players that have been deemed surplus to requirements.

Fourie offers a specialist open-side option if England decide to rejig their back row against the Azzurri.

James Haskell started at seven against Wales and debutant Tom Wood impressed.

Wood, 24, was one of the star performers against Wales - with stand-in captain Mike Tindall comparing the Northampton flanker to 2003 World Cup winner Richard Hill.

South Africa-born Fourie, 31, made his England debut during the autumn internationals, coming on as a replacement in three matches and starting against Samoa.

He is the only recognized open-side flanker currently in the squad, with skipper Lewis Moody ruled out of the opening two Six Nations matches with a knee injury.

Fourie himself has only just recovered from a calf injury and was not considered for the Wales match, Worsley coming in as back-row cover.

However, he came through the first half of Leeds' LV Cup defeat by Northampton on Saturday unscathed, scoring one try and setting up another before being substituted at half time.

Fourie's inclusion at the expense of Worsley means that England manager Martin Johnson has made only one change to the 22-man squad on duty for the hard-fought win at the Millennium Stadium.

As well as Worsley, Nick Abendanon, George Chuter, Alex Corbisiero, Paul Doran-Jones, Phil Dowson, Riki Flutey, Charlie Hodgson, Joe Simpson, James Simpson-Daniel, George Skivington and David Strettle were also allowed to return to their clubs.

Flutey's release means that Bath's Shontayne Hape will continue his centre partnership with Tindall.

Flutey, who won the last of his 13 England caps in the Six Nations defeat by France in March, has been plagued by injuries over the last year.

Johnson will name his starting XV for the Twickenham match at 1200 GMT on Thursday, 10 February.

England squad to play Italy:
Ben Foden (Northampton), Chris Ashton (Northampton), Mark Cueto (Sale), Matt Banahan (Bath); Mike Tindall (Gloucester, capt), Shontayne Hape (Bath); Toby Flood (Leicester), Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon); Ben Youngs (Leicester), Danny Care (Harlequins); Andrew Sheridan (Sale), Dan Cole (Leicester), Dave Wilson (Bath); Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Steve Thompson (Leeds); Louis Deacon (Leicester), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Simon Shaw (Wasps); Tom Wood (Northampton), James Haskell (Stade Francais), Hendre Fourie (Leeds), Nick Easter (Harlequins).

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see also
McGeechan backs under-fire Hape
09 Feb 11 |  Bath
Easter eyes ultimate England goal
06 Feb 11 |  English
Italy 11-13 Ireland
05 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
England can be better - Johnson
04 Feb 11 |  English
Wales 19-26 England
04 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Wales v England photos
04 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations on the BBC
05 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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