England announce team to face Wales

England
15. Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
14. David Strettle (Harlequins)
13. Dan Hipkiss (Leicester Tigers)
12. Andy Farrell (Saracens)
11. Jason Robinson (Unattached)
10. Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons)
9. Shaun Perry (Bristol Rugby)
1. Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks)
2. Mark Regan (Bristol Rugby)
3. Phil Vickery (London Wasps, captain)
4. Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
5. Steve Borthwick (Bath Rugby)
6. Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers)
7. Joe Worsley (London Wasps)
8. Nick Easter (Harlequins)

Replacements
16. George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
17. Matt Stevens (Bath Rugby)
18. Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers)
19. Lawrence Dallaglio (London Wasps)
20. Peter Richards (London Irish)
21. Toby Flood (Newcastle Falcons)
22. Mathew Tait (Newcastle Falcons)

Saturday’s warm-up match against Wales will offer the opportunity to see a number of exciting combinations as Brian Ashton’s men continue to prepare for the Rugby World Cup.

At centre, the prospect of Andy Farrell and Dan Hipkiss has been touted by many as their preferred line-up.  Farrell offers the strength in defence along with excellent distribution skills, while Hipkiss has looked exciting in attack for Leicester this season.

In the second row, Simon Shaw and Steve Borthwick will offer quality lineout options and both have a chance to stake their claim ahead of Ben Kay.

The back row looks to be the most unusual, with Joe Worsley starting at openside, Martin Corry on the blindside and Nick Easter at Number 8.  Ominously though, Lawrence Dallaglio is on the bench.

It was thought that Corry would only be considered in the second row, and Joe Worsley is not regarded as a quality openside, so these switches of position are intriguing (and slightly concerning at this late stage).  Unfortunately, England fans will have to continue to wait to see Dan Ward-Smith in action.

This game could represent the last chance for a number of England players before Ashton further trims his squad, and will be compulsive viewing this weekend.