Johnson turns to Flood

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Johnson turns to flood

Toby Flood has been given the nod ahead of Andy Goode at flyhalf for England’s crunch encounter against Ireland on Saturday.

Goode started the opening two matches of the Six Nations – even scoring a try on his international return against Italy – however he has lost his place to Flood and now drops to the bench for the clash at Croke Park.

England boss Martin Johnson has also made one change on the bench with Danny Care recovering from an ankle injury to replace Paul Hodgson. Tim Payne and Ben Foden will also travel to Dublin as cover.

England -15 Delon Armitage, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Harry Ellis; 8 Nick Easter, 7 Joe Worsley, 6 James Haskell, 5 Nick Kennedy, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Subs – 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Julian White, 18 Tom Croft, 19 Luke Narraway, 20 Danny Care, 21 Andy Goode, 22 Mathew Tait.

France gamble with Baby

France will go into their Six Nations clash against Wales without a recognised flyhalf in their starting line-up.

With Lionel Beauxis ruled out through injury, Montpellier No.10 Francois Trinh-Duc was expected to slot straight in to the role, but coach Marc Lievremont has decided to hand centre Benoit Baby the No.10 jersey.

Lievremont insists he has complete faith in Baby to rise to the challenge of his new position.

“We regret the withdrawal of Lionel Beauxis,” said Lievremont. “Events therefore dictate our choice. We know it’s not ideal – we need our best team against Wales and Francois only arrived on Monday.

“We think he [Baby] has all the qualities to play in the position even if he rarely plays there for his club. We have confidence in Benoit Baby.”

France - 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Julien Malzieu, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Cedric Heymans, 10 Benoit Baby, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Sebastien Chabal, 4 Lionel Nallet (c), 3 Sylvain Marconnet, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Fabien Barcella.
Subs – 6 Benjamin Kayzer, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Romain Millo-Chluski, 19 Louis Picamoles, 20 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 21 Francois Trinh-Duc, 22 Clement Poitrenaud.

Sheridan urged to flex muscle

Andrew Sheridan has been challenged to demonstrate his Lions credentials with a big performance against Ireland at Croke Park this weekend.

The Sale prop had an outstanding game against Wales – a performance that England and Lions scrum coach Graham Rowntree labelled “colossal”. Rowntree has now challenged Sheridan to back it up with further improvement against the Irish.

“Against Wales it was a straight Lions trial with him and Gethin Jenkins,” said Rowntree. “Andrew has come along in the last few weeks. His work rate is colossal and I don’t use that word lightly, along with the rest of our front five.

“He will be judged because of the man he is and the size he is with what he does in the scrum. That is developing nicely as well and another increase in performance and we will be happy at the weekend.

“The Irish front row of Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery and John Hayes – the Munster outfit – are a handful.

“They are all improved players. I am a big fan of Flannery and they are all contenders for that Lions trip.”

This thread will be updated throughout the day.