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Charlie's centre of attention

11 February 2003

Charlie Hodgson admitted he can't wait to run out at inside centre against France in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash against France at Twickenham and has vowed to repay Clive Woodward's faith.
Hodgson, No 10 for Zurich Premiership high-fliers Sharks, has been handed the No 12 shirt for Le Crunch in place of Mike Tindall, who is not 100 per cent fit.
The 22-year-old, who missed the Autumn's Investec Challenge Series, following knee surgery, admitted: "It's a shock to be involved in the side and in the centre as well. It's not that alien to me. I'm used to being close to the action and I've trained there when I've been with England.
"It's definitely a confidence-booster knowing Clive has the confidence to put me there in the first place."
With Jonny Wilkinson, whom head coach Woodward describes as "the No 1 fly-half in the world" and Will Greenwood alongside him, the Halifax-born Hodgson is relishing the biggest clash of the tournament.
"Jonny basically calls all the shots and I'm there in general play to help him out when he hasn't the time. I'm his eyes really," added Hodgson.
"Last year against France Jonny got a bit of a hammering from Serge Betsen so both of us playing might put some doubt in their minds. They won't know who is kicking."
Woodward has no doubt about Hodgson's ability to handle the pressure of a 75,000-packed Twickenham.
"Charlie has run a lot in the centre in the four training days we have had, mainly because Mike Tindall hasn't been able to train," said Woodward.
"He had a fantastic game in Argentina last summer and proved he can handle the game at that level. We might have made this selection in the Autumn if Charlie had been fit."