Friday 23 February 2018

Sheridan back in England mix

Andrew Sheridan will return to the England front-row after a 20-month absence for Saturday's showdown with New Zealand after recovering from shoulder surgery.

Sheridan's inclusion at loose-head prop in place of Tim Payne is the only change England manager Martin Johnson has made to the side which started the 21-20 victory over Australia in June.

Lewis Moody has been retained as captain after recovering from a serious eye injury.

England's back division will be the same that laid the foundations for that victory over the Wallabies in Sydney. Shontayne Hape, the former New Zealand rugby league international, will face his countrymen at inside centre.

Hape, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes all make their first Test starts at Twickenham.

Meanwhile, Wales star James Hook will leave the Ospreys at the end of this season.

Hook has given the Ospreys formal notice that he will not be accepting the offer of a new contract with them. After months of negotiations, the Ospreys had set Hook a deadline of yesterday to inform them of his future plans.

Hook says he will make a decision on where his future lies in February, but French club Perpignan -- whose past players include New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter -- are red-hot favourites to sign him.

Irish Independent

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