Johnson names England team to face Wales

By Rhys Hayward

martin johnson

Martin Johnson has hit back at critics of his conservative approach by selecting the Sale outside-centre Matthew Tait ahead of Shontayne Harpe to partner the returning Ricky Flutey in the England midfield.

Harpe had been widely expected to start but Tait has earned a recall against the team who he made his debut against five years ago. The teenage Tait suffered at the hands of Gavin Henson that afternoon and since then his international career has been a stuttering affair.

Despite excelling during the team’s sensational run to the 2007 World Cup final, Tait has been largely anonymous since Johnson became team manager. But he will take his place in a potentially explosive backline which also includes full-back Delon Armitage and scrum half Danny Care.

Care is another who was not expected to start but with Wales short of options in the no.9 position, Johnson has elected for Care’s tenacity over the more slick Paul Hodgson.

Up front there are fewer surprises with the only two capped props available, Tim Payne and David Wilson, flanking hooker Dylan Hartley in a front row which can expect a stern examination from its vastly more experienced Welsh counterparts.

Wales have delayed naming their team until Lee Byrne, their instrumental full-back, has discovered the result of his appeal against a two week ban for being the sixteenth man on the field during the Ospreys v Leicester Heineken Cup match last month.

The hearing takes place in Glasgow at 5pm this evening.


MORE: The latest football news

MORE: The latest tennis news

BIOGRAPHY: Nemanja Matic

BIOGRAPHY: Jesse Lingard

Miami Masters 2018
The Sport Review
Miami Masters 2018 preview: Who can upset the Federer and Djokovic show?
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning house in Madrid
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2018: Can you guess how much each Arsenal player earns?
The Sport Review
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
The Sport Review
Steven Gerrard warning to Liverpool FC about Chelsea FC in race for top four
The Sport Review
Paul Scholes: What I really think of Man United under Jose Mourinho
The Sport Review
Marcos Alonso sends Chelsea FC message to Alvaro Morata