Six Nations latest – Tindall leads Poms

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Tindall leads Poms – Mike Tindall will captain England in their opening Six Nations match against Wales on Friday. Tom Wood will replace Tom Croft at flank in the match to be played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

James Haskell will replace the injured Lewis Moody at openside flank while in the second row Louis Deacon comes in for the injured Courtney Lawes.

World Cup winning flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson will watch the match from the bench.

England - 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nick Easter, 7 James Haskell, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Subs: 16 Steve Thompson, 17 Danny Care, 18 David Wilson, 19 Simon Shaw, 20 Matt Banahan, 21 Joe Worsley, 22 Jonny Wilkinson.

Gatland backs Hook at fullback - James Hook, who played inside centre against New Zealand in November, will play fullback in Wales’ opening Six Nations clash with England on Friday. Hook replaces Lee Byrne who has been moved down to the bench.

Jamie Roberts returns to inside centre after missing all of Wales’ November Tests due to injury. Together with Roberts in the midfield will be Jonathan Davies who replaces the injured Tom Shanklin.

Morgan Stoddart will play wing following the ankle injury Leigh Halfpenny sustained at a training session on Monday.

Coach Warren Gatland was also forced to make changes in the front row due to injuries to props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones. The two Ospreys props, Paul James and Craig Mitchell, will take their place.

A possible test debut from the bench could be waiting for Rhys Priestland, the only new face in the 22-man squad.

Wales - 15 James Hook, 14 Morgan Stoddart, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Paul James, 7 Matthew Rees (c), 6 Craig Mitchell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Dan Lydiate, 2 Sam Warburton, 1 Andy Powell.
Subs: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 John Yapp , 18 Ryan Jones, 19 Jonathan Thomas, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 Rhys Priestland, 22 Lee Byrne.

Kidney trusts in McFadden – The 24-year-old Leinster centre Fergus McFadden has been named in Ireland’s starting line-up for their opener against Italy in Rome on Saturday. McFadden will play wing in the place of the injured Tommy Bowe.

Scrumhalf Tomas O’Leary returns to the side after missing all of Ireland’s November Tests due to a hand injury. Sean O’Brien will wear the No 8 jersey following an injury to Jamie Heaslip. Denis Leamy will take the place of Stephen Ferris, who also was ruled out due to injury, at blindside.

Former British & Irish Lions captain Paul O’Connell returns to the team after being absent since a groin injury sidelined him in last year’s Six Nations.

In total, Ireland have made nine changes to the team that beat Argentina 29-9 in November.

Ireland – 15 Luke Fitzgerald, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O’Driscoll (c), 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Tomas O’Leary, 8 Sean O’Brien, 7 David Wallace, 6 Denis Leamy, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Subs: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tom Court, 18 Leo Cullen, 19 Shane Jennings, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Paddy Wallace.