Johnson wields the axe
1 Jul 2008
Martin Johnson has included New Zealander Riki Flutey in his first England elite players squad of 32 but the manager has dropped some high-profile names.
Flutey, 27, is a former Wellington Hurricanes player who has previously represented New Zealand at all age groups and was a member of their U19 World Cup-winning team in 1999. The London Wasps centre started his career as a scrumhalf and has also played at fullback and flyhalf.
Johnson can’t find any space for 2003 World Cup winners Joe Worsley (loose-forward), centre Mike Tindall and lock Ben Kay. The trio have been demoted to the Saxons squad, effectively the A team, and are joined by eighthman Nick Easter and wing David Strettle.
Johnson has maintained scrumhalf Danny Care, who was allegedly involved in the sex scandal in New Zealand. But the other three, wing Topsy Ojo (despite scoring two tries in his debut Test), fullback Mike Brown and Strettle all join up with the Saxons.
Star back Danny Cipriani, who dislocated his ankle, also can’t find a spot in the elite squad.
England elite squad:
Forwards – Steve Borthwick (Saracens), George Chuter (Leicester), Jordan Crane (Leicester), Tom Croft (Leicester), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), James Haskell (Wasps), Nick Kennedy (London Irish), Lee Mears (Bath), Lewis Moody (Leicester), Luke Narraway (Gloucester), Tom Palmer (Wasps), Tim Payne (Wasps), Tom Rees (Wasps), Simon Shaw (Wasps), Andrew Sheridan (Sale), Matt Stevens (Bath), Phil Vickery (Wasps).
Backs – Olly Barkley (Gloucester), Danny Care (Harlequins), Harry Ellis (Leicester), Toby Flood (Leicester), Riki Flutey (Wasps), Shane Geraghty (London Irish), Dan Hipkiss (Leicester), Josh Lewsey (Wasps), Jamie Noon (Newcastle), Pete Richards (London Irish), Paul Sackey (Wasps), James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester), Mathew Tait (Sale), Tom Varndell (Leicester), Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle).
England Saxons squad:
Forwards – Steffon Armitage (London Irish), Richard Blaze (Leicester), Louis Deacon (Leicester), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Jack Forster (Gloucester), Tom Guest (Harlequins), Jason Hobson (Bristol), Chris Jones (Sale), Ben Kay (Leicester), Michael Lipman (Bath), David Paice (London Irish), George Skivington (Wasps), Andy Titterrell (Gloucester), Joe Ward (Wasps), David Wilson (Newcastle), Nick Wood (Gloucester) Joe Worsley (Wasps).
Backs – Nick Abendanon (Bath), Anthony Allen (Gloucester), Matt Banahan (Bath), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Ben Foden (Northampton), Andy Goode (Leicester), Paul Hodgson (London Irish), Ryan Lamb (Gloucester), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Topsy Ojo (London Irish), David Strettle (Harlequins), Mike Tindall (Gloucester), Dominic Waldouck (Wasps), Richard Wigglesworth (Sale).