England’s clash with Wales this Saturday will be an important step in Springbok coach Jake White’s preparation for the World Cup pool match.
Coach Brian Ashton has named something resembling a full strength side for the Twickenham Test, and White expected the core of that side to remain unchanged for their vital September 14 clash in St Denis.
“There may be a change at centre,” White said. “I don’t know what they are going to do at centre when they play us. They may try to bring Mike Tindall back.
“But the team against Wales is nearly the best England can send to France. I have heard a lot about their loose forwards [Martin Corry, Joe Worsley and Nick Easter]. Now I see they have given Mark Cueto a chance at fullback. They also rate David Strettle [right wing] highly.”
White also predicted that Jonny Wilkinson and Shaun Perry would form the halfback combination, while Simon Shaw and Steve Borthwick would front them in the second row and Phil Vickery and Andrew Sheridan would pack down at prop.
“Many people are talking about the hooker George Shuter but I think Mark Regan moved into contention when he played against us,” he continued. “Martin Corry and Lawrence Dallaglio are probably competing for the No 8 position and Lewis Moody and Joe Worsley are likely to be the flanks against us.”
There have been questions around Dallaglio’s ability to deliver the same level of performance he did in England’s successful campaign in 2003, with many believing he is past his prime. White however said he thought the 35-year-old could still be a force in France.
“I think he can still play a few good matches. I’ve spoken to Ian McGeechan, who coaches Wasps, and he says Dallaglio is one of those players who can still appear in a number of games. That is why Wasps are using him only for the big ones.”
England – 15 Mark Cueto, 14 David Strettle, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Andy Farrell, 11 Jason Robinson, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Joe Worsley, 6 Martin Corry, 5 Steve Borthwick, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Mark Regan, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Subs: 16 George Chuter, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Lewis Moody, 19 Lawrence Dallaglio, 20 Peter Richards, 21 Toby Flood, 22 Matthew Tait
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