Rugby World Cup 2011: Delon Armitage starts on wing for England

Rugby World Cup Pool B: Argentina v England

Venue:
Otago Stadium, Dunedin
Date:
Saturday 10 September
Kick-off:
0930 BST
Coverage:
Scores and reports on the BBC Sport website plus live text commentaries on all home nations matches; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1/ITV4, live commentary on TalkSport radio
Delon Armitage
Armitage has won 22 caps for England but has never started on the wing

Delon Armitage will start on the left wing in England's opening Rugby World Cup match against Argentina on Saturday after Mark Cueto was ruled out.

Sale's Cueto has been struggling with a back problem since he was forced off after 21 minutes of England's warm-up game against Ireland last month.

Armitage deserves his shot - Johnson

Nick Easter returns at number eight and Mike Tindall captains the team from inside centre alongside Manu Tuilagi.

Jonny Wilkinson gets the nod at fly-half with Toby Flood on the bench.

Easter had been withdrawn from last month's Ireland match as a precaution, and he will team up in the back row with James Haskell at open-side flanker and Tom Croft on the blindside.

England captain Lewis Moody had already been been ruled out of the Pool B match after failing to recover from a knee ligament injury in time.

London Irish full-back Armitage will make his first Test start on the wing.

"Mark's had a little bit (of back trouble) before but he could have played," said England manager Martin Johnson.

"There's a grey area between fit and injured in where most players sit all of the time. He trained fully all week but he's not quite where he needs to be - but the good things for us is Delon is playing very well.

"It's quite a simple decision. Delon has been around for a few years now, we know when he is in form he is a Test match player. We've no qualms about picking him in any of the back three positions."

On Richard Wigglesworth's selection ahead of Ben Youngs, Johnson said: "Wiggers is a savvy player, he's been around a little bit longer than the other two [scrum-halves] and he's taken the responsibility well. He's got a real maturity about him and it gives us some real experience.

"We've got 30 guys in the squad we can trust," the England boss added.

"We've got Matt Stevens also at tight-head but Dan Cole has done very well and seemed like the right way to go. Jonny's been in great form, as has Toby, and it's a great place to be to have two 10s step up and start for us.

"Jonny's in good form and we know what he brings to the table. It's a good decision to have to make. Jonny just got his nose in front for this game, although that may change for this week or the week after, whatever we think is best.

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Armitage comfortable with wing selection

"That's where the squad is, we don't get a drop off in a lot of positions. We've got Steve Thompson, Dylan Hartley and Lee Mears at hooker, and Lee Mears is a British Lion. There's an argument for all 30 of our players."

England: Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Mike Tindall (captain), Delon Armitage, Jonny Wilkinson, Richard Wigglesworth, Andrew Sheridan, Steve Thompson, Dan Cole, Louis Deacon, Courtney Lawes, Tom Croft, James Haskell, Nick Easter.

Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Matt Stevens, Tom Palmer, Tom Wood, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Matt Banahan.

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