Martin Johnson confirmed at Pennyhill Park today that every member of his Elite Player Squad is available for selection against the All Blacks.
Jonny Wilkinson has had his shoulder injury assessed, and the positive news is that no surgery is required. “We’re assessing it day-to-day at the moment. He doesn’t need surgery, so we just have to look at it in terms of playing top level rugby.”
Wilkinson took part in a non-contact session on Monday, and has been working with the England medical team in a race to be fit for next week.
Riki Flutey is also being closely monitored as he recovers from his calf strain sustained at Wasps on Sunday, whilst Hendre Fourie, Paul Doran-Jones and David Wilson are all due to train this week.
In terms of those players released, Johnno confirmed that Lewis Moody needs one club game before facing the All Blacks. “He’s going back to Bath today because he needs to play. That’s what players do. It doesn’t impact whether he’s captain next week, or on the bench or in the team or whatever.”
“Richard [Cockerill] wanted Floody back, but we decided that he doesn’t need another game.”
Asked whether Johnno was frustrated at the injuries, he was upbeat: “It’s not half as frustrating as it was this time last year. The guys have niggles, that’s what they live with and that’s what we have to manage.”