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- RBS Six Nations
- 4th Feb 2011
- KO 19:45
- Ground: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
- Att: 74,276
Johnno hails impressive Wood
England boss pleased with back-five combination
England manager Martin Johnson is backing uncapped Tom Wood to shine in Friday's Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff.
The 24-year-old replaces the injured Tom Croft in the back row after an impressive season with Northampton.
Wood, along with James Haskell and Louis Deacon, comes into the side with Mike Tindall handed the captaincy in the absence of Lewis Moody.
And Johnson believes the match offers Wood the chance to cement his place in the starting XV.
Johnson said: "It's a chance for Tom to come and play. Would he have got there with all the guys fit? He probably wouldn't, but he's worth a look and worth his place.
"He was very impressive in the autumn when he came in and the way he's playing, most importantly, with his club, he's a pretty impressive player.
"It's not great to have guys injured but great to get Tom on the field in a big-time Test match. He's 24, 25, so he's not in his first year of it, he's got a bit of experience.
"We've got good carrying ability in that back five as well with James (Haskell) coming in, all those back-row guys are slightly different and it is a good combination we've got."
World Cup-winner Tindall has got the nod ahead of Nick Easter for the captaincy, with Johnson adding: "Mike's a good captain, very experienced, but if he's not there we've got Nick, Louis Deacon who's had a real good week as well - it's good to have him back and in good form."6 Nations. Click here to bet.
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James Watson says...
Everything was looking fine with the selection until Johnson selected Louis Deacon in the second row, there is no way that he's a better player than George Skivington or Simon Shaw. Also, why does Johnson keep opting for Danny Care, he's no where near Joe Simpson as a player and yet he's on the bench for England? Hopefully it won't matter come Friday, but it's not the strongest side we could have fielded.
Posted 16:58 2nd February 2011
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