Battle lines drawn for crunch clash
February 24, 2011
Dimitri Yachvili will fill the France No.9 shirt for Saturday's clash with Twickenham © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson has recalled prop Andrew Sheridan for Saturday's Six Nations showdown with France.
The Sale loose-head returns at the expense of Alex Corbisiero in the only change to the side that swept Italy aside earlier this month with captain Lewis Moody's hopes of a return to action wrecked by a recurrence of his knee injury.
The Bath flanker missed England's opening Six Nations victories against Wales and Italy after being sidelined for five weeks with ligament damage. Moody had always targeted the France game and he returned to action last weekend with a 23-minute cameo off the bench against Northampton. But Moody, capped 66 times by England, is not fit enough to feature in Martin Johnson's 22-man squad for Saturday's pivotal showdown at Twickenham.
Corbisiero, who made his Test debut against the Azzurri as a last-minute replacement for Sheridan, moves to the bench in place of the injured David Wilson. With Moody still out, Mike Tindall retains the captaincy as the two remaining unbeaten teams in the championship lock horns at Twickenham with a potential Grand Slam on the line.
France coach Marc Lievremont has dropped scrum-half Morgan Parra, centre Damien Traille, flanker Julien Bonnaire for the game. Parra is replaced by Biarritz's Dimitri Yachvili while Toulouse midfielder Yannick Jauzion has ousted Traille from the No.12 jersey. Bonnaire drops out of the 22 due to Sebastien Chabal's recall to the back-row at No.8 with Imanol Harinordoquy moving to the openside berth.
Fullback Clement Poitrenaud was also initially dropped with Toulouse wing Vincent Clerc promoted to the starting XV and Maxime Medard switched to fullback. However, a subsequent hamstring injury to Medard saw Poitrenaud reinstated.
England: B Foden (Northampton Saints); C Ashton (Northampton Saints), M Tindall (Gloucester Rugby, capt), S Hape (Bath Rugby), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Wood (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (Stade Francais), N Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: S Thompson (Leeds Carnegie), A Corbisiero (London Irish), S Shaw (London Wasps), H Fourie (Leeds Carnegie), D Care (Harlequins), J Wilkinson (Toulon), M Banahan (Bath Rugby).
France: C Poitrenaud (Toulouse); Y Huget (Bayonne), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), V Clerc (Toulouse); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), D Yachvili (Biarritz); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), L Nallet (Racing Metro), T Dusautoir (Toulouse), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), S Chabal (Racing Metro)
Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), S Marconnet (Biarritz), J Thion (Biarritz), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne), D Traille (Biarritz), Alexis Palisson (Brive)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Alan Lewis (Ireland), Tim Hayes (Wales)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape
Move over, Castro - from falling off a chair to stepping off the team bus, Scrum Sevens recounts some of the strangest rugby injuries ever
Martin Gillingham on the latest from France and why the national side can learn a thing or two from Top 14 side Bordeaux Begles