England coach Martin Johnson has today named his side to face Wales in their opening match of the Six Nations on Saturday at 5pm.
Johnson has named Mathew Tait alongside Riki Flutey, a move that might finally draw a line under Tait’s mysterious absence from an England starting line-up since his line breaks in the RWC of 2007. The hotly debated number nine jersey is given to Danny Care – a player who is hoping he can be permitted to play his club’s style of quick-ball rugby, rather than the over-prescriptive dour stuff we saw in the autumn.
Armitage returns at 15 and Nick Easter start at number 8 in a side that sees a total of 6 changes from the team that started against New Zealand in November. The replacements include the uncapped Dan Cole and Northampton talent Ben Foden.
15 Delon Armitage (London Irish)
14 Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)
13 Mathew Tait (Sale Sharks)
12 Riki Flutey (CA Brive)
11 Ugo Monye (Harlequins)
10 Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon)
9 Danny Care (Harlequins)
1 Tim Payne (London Wasps)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
3 David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
4 Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
5 Steve Borthwick (Saracens, captain)
6 James Haskell (Stade Francais)
7 Lewis Moody (Leicester Tigers)
8 Nick Easter (Harlequins)
16 Steve Thompson (CA Brive)
17 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
18 Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)
19 Steffon Armitage (London Irish)
20 Paul Hodgson (London Irish)
21 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
22 Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)
So what do you think? Has Johnno finally seen sense? Are there greater changes you would like to have seen?
Dont forget to listen to our Ultimate 6 Nations Preview podcast where you can hear from England starters Nick Easter, Ugo Monye & Mark Cueto, aswell as all the other nations – available to listen to now or via iTunes.