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Flood starts at 12 in one of four England changes

06 October 2011

  • Four changes for England ahead of France quarter final
  • Flood, Cueto, Palmer and Easter all come into the fray
England's Toby Flood, who will start against France at inside centre

Photo: Getty Images

Toby Flood will start at inside centre, alongside Jonny Wilkinson at fly half, in one of four changes to Martin Johnson's side for the Rugby World Cup quarter final against France at Eden Park on Saturday, kick off 8.30am UK time.

Leicester Tigers man Flood is joined in the starting XV by lock Tom Palmer, No.8 Nick Easter and and wing Mark Cueto who come in for Courtney Lawes, James Haskell and the suspended Delon Armitage respectively.

The No.12 jersey is not an unfamiliar one to Flood who played there regularly in the early part of his career with Newcastle Falcons – alongside Wilkinson.

Jonny Wilkinson and Jonny Wilkinson celebrate against France in 2007

Photo: Getty Images

The 26-year-old has also started eight times for England at inside centre – with Wilkinson alongside him on all but one of those occasions – with the most recent time being the 30-17 victory over Wales during the 2010 RBS 6 Nations. 

The pair also linked up for the same 10-12 axis for the 2008 RBS 6 Nations 24-13 victory in Paris, and played together in midfield for the last 11 minutes of the 2007 Rugby World Cup semi-final win against the French.

Saturday marks the 95th meeting between the two nations and England hold the upper hand with 51 wins to France’s 36 – including victories in both the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

Lawes and Haskell drop down to the bench, with three other forwards in Dylan Hartley, Alex Corbisiero and Simon Shaw, with Richard Wigglesworth covering the halfback positions and Matt Banahan rest of the backline.

England are four from four in New Zealand after registering Pool wins against Argentina, Georgia, Romania and Scotland, and should they defeat channel rivals France, they would face fellow northern hemisphere rivals Wales or Ireland in the semi finals.

England team to face France
Player Club
15 Ben Foden Northampton Saints
14 Chris Ashton Northampton Saints
13 Manu Tuilagi Leicester Tigers
12 Toby Flood Leicester Tigers
11 Mark Cueto Sale Sharks
10 Jonny Wilkinson RC Toulon
9 Ben Youngs Leicester Tigers
1 Matt Stevens Saracens
2 Steve Thompson London Wasps
3 Dan Cole Leicester Tigers
4 Louis Deacon Leicester Tigers
5 Tom Palmer Stade Francais
6 Tom Croft Leicester Tigers
7 Lewis Moody (c) Bath Rugby
8 Nick Easter Harlequins
Player Club
16 Dylan Hartley Northampton Saints
17 Alex Corbisiero London Irish
18 Courtney Lawes Northampton Saints
19 Simon Shaw Unattached
20 James Haskell Ricoh Black Rams
21 Richard Wigglesworth Saracens
22 Matt Banahan Bath Rugby