Tuesday 24 April 2018

Armitage named to face Argentina

Delon Armitage will start England's World Cup opener against Argentina tomorrow (9.30am Irish time) on the wing in place of Mark Cueto, who has been struggling with a back injury.

Nick Easter's inclusion at No 8 in place of James Haskell, who takes over at openside flanker from Hendre Fourie, is the only other change to the team that began England's last match, a 20-9 win over Ireland.

"The great thing for us is that Delon's playing very well," England manager Martin Johnson said. "When you've got a guy who isn't quite right and a guy in great form, it's a pretty simple decision."

Armitage, who is usually a full-back, is one of 10 England players who will feature in their first World Cup match tomorrow in Dunedin.

Easter, prop Andrew Sheridan and out-half Jonny Wilkinson are the only survivors from the team that started the 2007 World Cup final defeat to South Africa in Paris.

ENGLAND -- B Foden; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, M Tindall (capt), D Armitage; J Wilkinson, R Wigglesworth; N Easter, J Haskell, T Croft, C Lawes, L Deacon, D Cole, S Thompson, A Sheridan. Reps: D Hartley, M Stevens, T Palmer, T Wood, B Youngs, T Flood, M Banahan.

Medard wary of Japan

Winger Maxime Medard says France's opening World Cup match against Japan tomorrow (7.0am) is "a danger match" that is as potentially perilous as when France kicked off their campaign with a defeat to Argentina in 2007.

France are heavily favoured to beat Japan at North Harbour Stadium, but Medard warns French fans not to expect a rout against John Kirwan's fast-improving team.

Praising Japan's attacking ability, Medard said: "We're very wary of this team."

Medard will start alongside his Toulouse team-mates -- winger Vincent Clerc and full-back Cedric Heymans -- describing them as "free spirits" he hopes will cause the Japan defence all sorts of problems.

Paterson in for Scots

Full-back Chris Paterson will become the first Scottish player to feature in four World Cups after being named yesterday in the side for their opening Pool B match against Romania in Invercargill tomorrow (2.0am).

Paterson, Scotland's most capped player, will play in his 106th Test in their clash at Rugby Park Stadium and will be hopeful of repeating his remarkable record of not missing a kick at the 2007 World Cup.

Scotland -- C Paterson; M Evans, J Ansbro, S Lamont, S Danielli; R Jackson, M Blair; R Vernon, J Barclay, K Brown, A Kellock (capt), R Gray, G Cross, R Ford, A Jacobsen. Reps: S Lawson, A Dickinson, N Hines, R Rennie, C Cusiter, D Parks, R Lamont.

Irish Independent

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