RWC latest – Henson returns for Wales

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Henson returns for Wales – Gavin Henson will start for Wales against England in Cardiff this Saturday.

Henson, who is currently without a club, is one of several changes as he creates a new midfield pairing with centre Jamie Roberts. James Hook also slots in at fullback with Morgan Stoddart sidelined with a broken ankle.

Wales – 15 James Hook, 14 George North, 13 Jamie Roberts, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Lloyd Burns, 1 Paul James.
Subs: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Josh Turnbull, 19 Justin Tipuric, 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Scott Williams, 22 Aled Brew.

Tindall to lead Poms – Mike Tindall will take over the England captaincy from the injured Lewis Moody for the Test against Wales this weekend.

The outside centre will take charge while Hendre Fourie comes in at openside flank as one of 13 changes to the side that beat Wales 23-19 in London last Saturday. Only prop Alex Corbisiero and wing Mark Cueto remain from that run-on XV.

England – 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Mike Tindall (captain), 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Subs: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 James Haskell, 20 Danny Care, 21 Charlie Hodgson, 22 Matt Banahan.

France hand Lakafia debut - No 8 Raphael Lakafia will win his first cap for France in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against Ireland.

France have named something resembling their strongest combination for Saturday’s Test. The French-born 22-year-old Lakafia is joined by Imanol Harinordoquy and Thierry Dusautoir in the back row.

‘We wanted to play Lakafia from the start,’ France coach Marc Lievremont said. ‘I think he’s an intelligent player, and he has good handling skills. We think he’s ready.’

There are also starts for Dimitri Yachvili at scrumhalf alongside flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc, while Dimitri Szarzewski starts at hooker and Vincent Clerc plays on the wing after a period sidelined with a knee injury.

Lievremont has to drop two players from his provisional 32-man squad when he announces his World Cup squad on 22 August.

France - 15 Damien Traille, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 David Marty, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Raphael Lakafia, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Romain Millo-Chluski, 4 Julien Pierre, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Sylvain Marconnet.
Subs: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Lionel Nallet, 19 Julien Bonnaire, 20 Morgan Parra, 21 David Skrela, 22 Maxime Medard.