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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 September, 2003, 20:32 GMT 21:32 UK
England pick from strength
England hooker Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson earned praise for his display in the loose

England have come through their final World Cup warm-up with a clean bill of health, manager Clive Woodward reported after Saturday's 45-14 win over France.

With Woodward set to unveil his 30-man squad on Sunday morning, seeing all his players emerge unscathed from the Twickenham fray will have pleased him as much as any of the five tries they scored on the night.

Lewis Moody was the only player giving cause for concern when he took a heavy knock late on, but the Leicester back rower suffered no lasting damage.

Woodward said: "I am delighted that we have got no injuries, which would have been the only thing to have changed my mind in terms of selection.

"We are picking from strength. Charlie Hodgson and Alex King are the only two players we can't really consider."

England fielded 11 of the side that defeated world champions Australia in Melbourne earlier this summer, but such was their dominance that Woodward could afford to take off skipper Martin Johnson and fly-half Jonny Wilkinson early in the second half.

Of the players still looking to press a final World Cup claim, wing Iain Balshaw stood out. The Bath star scored one try, and came within touching distance of claiming two more.

"I am very pleased for Iain - he has proved that he can play exceptionally well for England," Woodward added.

We were very disappointed after last week, and the guys played very well up front tonight
Andy Robinson
England coach

Balshaw and the likes of centre Stuart Abbott and back-row forward Martin Corry must now play a waiting game until Woodward informs the handful of players who won't make his final squad for the World Cup in Australia.

England coach Andy Robinson saluted the efforts of the forwards, who improved significantly on last Saturday's 17-16 defeat against France in Marseille.

Robinson said: "We were very disappointed after last week, and the guys played very well up front tonight.

"Trevor Woodman had an excellent game and I thought hooker Steve Thompson was immense in his running."


SEE ALSO
King to miss World Cup
04 Sep 03  |  Internationals


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