Armitage boost for England

Full-back passed fit to face Scotland

Last updated: 9th March 2010  

Armitage boost for England

Armitage: Passed fit

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England full-back Delon Armitage has won his race to be fit in time to face Scotland in the RBS Six Nations clash at Murrayfield.

Armitage had been a doubt for the Calcutta Cup match after damaging his ribs against Ireland - with Gloucester's Olly Morgan initially called up as cover.

However, the 26-year-old has now been passed fit to start the match, with Northampton's Ben Foden having to be content with a place on the bench.

England manager Martin Johnson said: "Delon proved his fitness yesterday and trained vigorously."

While Armitage has recovered from injury, lock Simon Shaw has definitely been ruled out with Louis Deacon taking his place.

The inclusion of Deacon is one of two changes made by Johnson, with Joe Worsley getting the nod ahead of Lewis Moody in the back row.

Worsley came off the bench against Ireland and the tough-tackling Wasps flanker is preferred for his defensive qualities.

And Johnson admitted that the decision to include Worsley had nothing to do with the way Moody had been playing.

"It was a very tough call. It is not a reflection at all on how Lewis has played," said Johnson.

Impact

"It is more of a reflection on the strength and depth of the players we have in the squad.

"We felt it was the best call to put Joe in the starting team and have Lewis on the bench to make an impact.

"They are two different players. They can both play six and seven. There is not a weakness in Lewis' game but Joe's defence is good and his ball-carrying is particularly strong.

"It was the toughest selection we have had as a group. That is not because we lost the last game but the squad we have now puts pressure on players to perform."

Moody, who will leave Leicester for Bath at the end of the season, is joined on the bench by Steve Thompson after Lee Mears was ruled out through an injury suffered in training.

Exciting Northampton lock Courtney Lawes is also set for his first Six Nations appearance after being named among the replacements, while Ben Youngs is poised to make his debut.

Youngs has been selected ahead of Paul Hodgson on the bench to provide cover for Danny Care, with the Tigers scrum-half set to follow in the footsteps of his dad Nick, who was capped six times.

Johnson, who celebrates his 40th birthday today, has also named James Haskell in his starting XV in the aftermath of the much-publicised "club v country" row with Stade Francais.

England: 15 D Armitage, 14 M Cueto, 13 M Tait, 12 R Flutey, 11 U Monye, 10 J Wilkinson, 9 D Care, 1 T Payne, 2 D Hartley, 3 D Cole, 4 L Deacon, 5 S Borthwick, 6 J Haskell, 7 J Worsley, 8 N Easter
Replacements: 16 S Thompson, 17 D Wilson, 18 C Lawes, 19 L Moody, 20 B Youngs, 21 T Flood, 22 B Foden

Comments (37)

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David Head says...

the amount of ball that came from a ruck scrum in the first 20 mins and care was not there or missed it why is he still selected foden kennedy playing and get a propper coach

Posted 00:51 13th March 2010

Sam Britton says...

As a wasps supporter i think Worsley is a quality player but he's noway near the best openside in england especially atm. He's ha too much bad luck with injuries and is probably a bit old. Johnsons second row selection is absolutly mad, why dose he insist on picking these lumbering idiots. Totally agree with Jonny Boy, these days to win a major tournament (6nations + world cup) england or any team will need to adapt their playing style to suit the opposition, it's no good just having a game that revolves around wilko's boot, which is no where near what it used to be and the pack is no where near the 'white orcs' we put out in 2003.

Posted 02:53 12th March 2010

Jonny Boy says...

As a welshman I thought my views and comments may have seemed a bit bias...............but obviously not .............every comment so far tend to agree with me.............Jonno is out of his depth.......he has absolutely no idea what to do with players who are capeable of playing fast, creative rugby, whether planned or off the cuff, he only has one game plan ...............I love my rugby and watch as much a possible........England have a plethora of creative players who just aren't getting a look in and the odd few in the squad are being stopped from playing their natural game. I know Wales have lost a couple but at least they're having a go and when it clicks they are absolutely awesome, just got to put it all together for 80 minutes. The RFU need to take off the old school tie and get rid of both Jonno and Rob Andrew and employ some more creative, knowledgeable and better qualified coaching and backroom staff, but they wont and I'm afraid they'll have to suffer the consequences

Posted 12:36 11th March 2010

Fraser Young says...

Frederick Pledge says... "Bring back Clive Woodward with Shaun Edwards and then we can get down to business of winning in style again." clive woodward=style?? do you not remember 2003, we won with a very boring and pragmatic style, it was effective due to nature of the game then and players at England's disposal. Dissapointing selection, have never rated Deacon, never will. think Dowson deserves a shot soon. and would've like to see Foden instead of Armitage. when in form i would pcik Armitage every time, but atm he just looks really low in confidence, and therefore will always take safe option as he doesn't have the confidence in his ability at the moment to try anything special.

Posted 10:35 11th March 2010

Jezza Jezza says...

I cannot see the reasoning for Worsley being picked ahead of moody, but am sure Johnno has his reasons...made this point before...all this criticism seems to remind me of the period before 2003 wc..we need to pick this player or this player but woodward stuck to his guns..and we won the world cup, but it took him 4 years..if Johnno took every ones advice and picked different players all the time we would have unsettled team and have no chance..what would the posters say who want Foden, Johnno picked him and he had an absolute mare and costs us the game..would imagine they would not appear..I am not saying I have every confidence in Johnno and the rest of the coaching team, but am prepared to give him a chance and support 100%..England to win by 10-15 points as Scotland have no attacking threat!!

Posted 10:22 11th March 2010

Craig Holden says...

Great! He's done nothing for the last 3 games so more of the same then!

Posted 15:48 10th March 2010

Alex Garraway says...

rightly so delon should consider his starting place as a 'massive relief'. i do rate the player but he is not at all in form and probably not at his own fault. he has been uninspiring throughout the six nations... so when does someone in the england set-up have the cojones to play someone like foden? also i still have no idea what deacon is doing in the squad apart from adding bulk and what can thompson offer from the bench? is he really an impact player? i find it really depressing to think that england feel the need to start worsley. just proves we are going to try and counter their physical pressence rather than us taking a more open and expansive game to them as for captain, he's had some improved performances this six nations, but the word uninspiring (along with many of johnsons squad picks) comes to mind. too many uninspirational players and not enough guts in the england selection. please please prove me wrong!

Posted 12:00 10th March 2010

Matthew Todd says...

Once again im am completely unispired by Johnsons selection. I would respect him more as a manager if he would just grow a pair and drop the non performers. I fail to see how experience should be the deciding factor in selection as that prevents the inexperienced gaining experience and thus never enabling them to be picked, man up martin and do this countries loyal supporters a favour. Team for scotland : 15 foden, 14 cueto, 13 tait, 12 flutey, 11 ashton, 10 flood, 9 youngs, 1 Golding, 2 hartley, 3 cole, 4 lawes, 5 borthwick, 6 dowson, 7 armitage, 8 easter

Posted 11:41 10th March 2010

Craig Holden says...

Great! He's done nothing in the previous 3 games so more of the same I guess!

Posted 09:05 10th March 2010

Joanne Simmons says...

Rubbish! I cannot believe he has dropped the ONLY world class player to the bench....I am so fed up of this England squad with Borthwick as captain, utterly useless... I NEVER thought I would say that I hope they get embarrassed on Sat but it is needed to ring the changes as they are playing like defence is their only game plan and look like headless chickens with ball in hand.

Posted 20:57 9th March 2010

Chris Oliver says...

These team selections are starting to get me down. I really want England to win but where is the spark going to come from............How about this team for 2015 World Cup.......Cole, Hartley, Sheridan, Lawes, Kennedy, Haskell, Croft, Armitage, Youngs, Flood, Turner-Hall,Tait, Ashton, Benjamin, Foden.

Posted 17:57 9th March 2010

Andy Fielding says...

Have to say that I am very disappointed by this! I wanted to see Ben Foden get his chance on the big stage! Please Mr Johnson will you start playing people by there form and not there reputation!!!!

Posted 17:07 9th March 2010

Steve Hunt says...

Brilliant. Same team that has failed to deliver at any stage during this 6N. My money is firmly on Scotland to get stuck right into a poor England outfit, and turn them over.

Posted 16:49 9th March 2010

Janner Baker says...

Armitage a boost for England....!!! I don't think so, catch a high ball and kick back another high ball how easy is that to defend,on the other hand Foden catch a high ball and he doesn't know what he is going to do, the nearest we have to Jason Robinson. Get rid of Shaw, Worsley, Easter,Payne,Borthwick,Deacon,Wilkinson,Flutey,Monye Armitage if you want to see 15 man attacking rugby. I would bring in Flood, Lawes, Kennedy, Ward Smith, Simpson Daniel, Ashton come on Johnson take a chance and try to entertain us. Twickenham the other week against the Irish was a complete waste of money and time for me.Bring in Mike Catt as an attacking coach also Neil Back as defence I think Ford,Smith and Wells haven't got a clue. If this was down under they would have sacked them by now . Johnson have some nerve and move on from when you played, the game has.

Posted 16:17 9th March 2010

Andy Wale says...

how can James Haskell be picked ahead of Lewis Moody?!?! and why not start with Foden, we looked much more dangerous when he came off the bench for Armitage against Ireland

Posted 15:52 9th March 2010

Matt Lockwood says...

The only ray of light against Ireland was Foden when he came on, yet Armitage who was been awful even in Victory against Wales & Italy retains his place. We need quick ball so we replace Moody at open side, which is probably the right move, but replace him with Worsley who can tackle well, but that's about it. Deacon and Borthwick can not play together as are both lumbering second rows who offer nothing in open play, have no pace or dynamism. At least Youngs, Lawes & Foden on the bench means we can inject some pace and ingenuity, lets hope that the injection is not too late.

Posted 15:34 9th March 2010

Mike Ryan says...

Some please explain to me why when we have such exciting new players performing week in week out in the premiership we as english man go for experience who to be fair are not good enough for international duty. When you have the likes of Ben youngs, Courtney Lawes, Stefan armitage, Toby Flood, Chris Ashton let these guys have a shot at the likes of Scotland and have some experience sat on the bench like Worsley Moody Deacon Wilko just incase they need to close the game out please some explain the logic.

Posted 15:26 9th March 2010

Julian Smith says...

No No No Johnno┐when will you see that we want a future as well as beating the Scots on Saturday but this team is offering neither. If this is part of the master plan, I can not see it! Deacon, Borthwick, Payne, Monye surly by now have proved that they are not good enough at International level. Moody dropping to the bench for Worsley how is that looking to the future? Haskell out of the back row had the poorest game against the muscular Irish, why does he survive? The Scots will come at England hard; they will force the English onto the back foot by chasing down kicks. Have England got anyone to get them out of that kind of trouble, Ben Foden perhaps but he only sits on the bench. The selection is too conservative and the policy of picking one game at a time to win has failed. There are too many youngsters that will be too inexperienced being led by the experienced players that are simply not good enough leading into the World Cup

Posted 15:14 9th March 2010

Julian Smith says...

No No No Johnno┐when will you see that we want a future as well as beating the Scots on Saturday but this team is offering neither. If this is part of the master plan, I can not see it! Deacon, Borthwick, Payne, Monye surly by now have proved that they are not good enough at International level. Moody dropping to the bench for Worsley how is that looking to the future? Haskell out of the back row had the poorest game against the muscular Irish, why does he survive? The Scots will come at England hard; they will force the English onto the back foot by chasing down kicks. Have England got anyone to get them out of that kind of trouble, Ben Foden perhaps but he only sits on the bench. The selection is too conservative and the policy of picking one game at a time to win has failed. There are too many youngsters that will be too inexperienced being led by the experienced players that are simply not good enough leading into the World Cup

Posted 15:09 9th March 2010

Joe Dawes says...

Louis Deacon is from the same mould as Borthwick only worse.He should never be starting ahead of Lawes or Kennedy, shouldn't even be in the squad. Dean Schofield is a better shout, constantly getting overlooked by England despite consistently good performances for Sale. I detect a bit of Leicester bias from Johnson. Also having Moody on the bench and saying it is for impact purposes is ridiculous, he is just being defensive with Worsleys inclusion, starting Moody with Armitage on the bench makes more sense. Johnson must be the only person in England who thinks these selections are an improvement.

Posted 14:35 9th March 2010

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