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Premiership Rugby

Woodward picks strong XV for France

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Although South African-born Abbott and 2001 Lion, Corry, both got the nod, injuries to Mike Tindall, Lawrence Dallaglio and Joe Worsley might have forced Woodward's hand.

In the biggest hint yet as to the 15 that will spearhead England's assault on the World Cup, the England coach has named a side that will be led by regular skipper Martin Johnson, containing many of his match-hungry first lieutenants – Neil Back, Richard Hill and Jonny Wilkinson to name a few.

Jason Robinson reverts to fullback from the right-wing in order to make room for Dan Luger. Woodward's faith in the Perpignan flyer will have to repaid in spades on Saturday should he wish to disrupt the Gland Slam-winning formula that saw Wasps star Josh Lewsey at No.15, with Ben Cohen in his regular slot on the left-wing.

Kyran Bracken finds favour at scrum-half with Matt Dawson on the bench, while tighthead prop Julian White gets another chance to prove himself after a brilliant game against Wales and an indifferent performance against France in Marseille. On the other side of the scrum, Trevor Woodman ousts veteran prop Jason Leonard.

Elsewhere it's all change – with White, Corry and Cohen the only survivors of the one-point loss to France last week.

Phil Vickery, James Simpson-Daniel, Mark Regan and Alex King join Tindall, Dallaglio and Worsley on the sick-list – Woodward making it clear that their slight knocks had ruled them out of consideration.

England: 15 Jason Robinson (Sale), 14 Dan Luger (Perpignan), 13 Stuart Abbott (Wasps), 12 Will Greenwood (NEC Harlequins), 11 Ben Cohen (Northampton Saints), 10 Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons), 9 Kyran Bracken (Saracens), 8 Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers), 7 Neil Back (Leicester Tigers), 6 Richard Hill (Saracens), 5 Ben Kay (Leicester Tigers), 4 Martin Johnson (Leicester Tigers, captain), 3 Julian White (Leicester Tigers), 2 Steve Thompson (Northampton Saints), 1 Trevor Woodman (Gloucester).Replacements: 16 Dorian West (Leicester Tigers), 17 Jason Leonard (NEC Harlequins), 18 Simon Shaw (London Wasps), 19 Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers), 20 Matt Dawso (Northampton), 21 Paul Grayson (Northampton), 22 Iain Balshaw (Bath Rugby)  

Kick-off: 18.00 BST (19.00 France time, 17.00 GMT)


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