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Strength in numbers other than 10

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

With flanker Lewis Moody returning from injury and lock Danny Grewcock back from suspension – both players probably would have featured against the Wallabies in one way or another – Woodward was able to pick an experienced pack against the Welsh, with the most-capped of them all, prop Jason Leonard leading the side on Saturday.

Of course, Joe Worsley, Martin Corry, Simon Shaw, Julian White and Mark Regan are not youngsters, but, at best, they would be hoping to feature in Woodward's 'dirt-trackers' side at the World Cup, with Lawrence Dallaglio, Richard Hill, Martin Johnson, Phil Vickery and Steve Thompson the likely suspects in the England first XV.

Andy Gomarsall, who was a tad disappointing in England's Australasian tour, took a giant step forward against Wales, with a more than useful display, but Woodward would also have been pleased by the performance of his new midfield, Stuart Abbott and Jamie Noon, with regulars Mike Tindall and Will Greenwood taking a breather against Wales.

For all the criticism that he endures, Tindall remains a key member of the England backline, his power on defence and attack combining well with the gracefulness of Greenwood, who is a try-scoring threat. Abbott, however, adds creativity on attack, too, and Woodward would have been heartened by his display on his Test debut.

Abbott is not expected to feature in England's premier XV just yet and will have to bide his time with Tindall and Greenwood in favour, but the incumbents would be aware of Abbott, Noon and also Leicester's Ollie Smith, who made an encouraging start to his Test career during the Six Nations.

Dan Luger, who has battled a host of injuries in his Test career, would also have been pleased with his showing in Cardiff, the new Perpignan winger contributing one of England's five tries, although he does look like starting the World Cup on the bench behind England's back three of Josh Lewsey, Jason Robinson and Ben Cohen – a skilled and pacy trio if ever.

There is, however, an argument that Woodward does not have sufficient cover at fly-half, with golden boy Jonny Wilkinson unrivalled as the premier No.10 in world rugby – nevermind England.

Wasps stalwart Alex King struggled with his goal-kicking against Wales, while Northampton Saints veteran Paul Grayson remains a good goal-kicking option, but King probably holds the edge over him in general play.

Newcastle's Dave Walder has spent a lot of time at fullback in recent times, but has not had a lot of game time since breaking his leg.

Woodward, obviously, would be hoping that Wilkinson plays one match in Perth – against the Springboks – before reappearing to take his side through the play-offs and to the World Cup title.

Seems simple, doesn't it?

The two England XV's:

v Australia: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Jason Robinson, 13 Will Greenwood, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Kyran Bracken, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio, 7 Neil Back, 6 Richard Hill, 5 Ben Kay, 4 Martin Johnson (captain), 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Trevor Woodman.Replacements: 16 Mark Regan, 17 Jason Leonard, 18 Steve Borthwick, 19 Joe Worsley, 20 Matt Dawson, 21 Alex King, 22 Dan Luger.

v Wales: 15 Dan Scarbrough, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Jamie Noon, 12 Stuart Abbott, 11 Dan Luger, 10 Alex King, 9 Andy Gomarsall (vice-captain), 8 Joe Worsley, 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Martin Corry, 5 Simon Shaw, 4 Danny Grewcock, 3 Julian White, 2 Mark Regan, 1 Jason Leonard (captain).Replacements: 16 Dorian West, 17 Will Green, 18 Steve Borthwick, 19 Alex Sanderson, 20 Austin Healey, 21 Dave Walder, 22 Ollie Smith.


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