ENGLAND Team Manager Martin Johnson has handed the captaincy reins to Mike Tindall ahead of this weekend’s clash with Wales in Cardiff. Capped 70 times for his country, the Gloucester centre, who first led England at the Millennium Stadium in this year’s RBS 6 Nations, is one of 13 changes made to the starting XV that secured a 23-19 victory over Wales at Twickenham last weekend.

Only Alex Corbisiero and Mark Cueto reappear as Johnson rotates his squad ahead of Rugby World Cup selection. Richard Wigglesworth gets the nod at number nine, partnering Toby Flood in a back line which otherwise replicates the combination that started all but one match in England’s successful 2011 RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Tom Wood, who won his first cap in England’s 26-19 win over Wales back in February, joins Hendre Fourie and Nick Easter in a back row playing together for the first time. Fourie collects his second England start and wins his first cap away from home.

Looking ahead to the game Martin Johnson said, “Last weekend’s match was hugely competitive and we expect more of the same as we prepare to travel to the Millennium Stadium. We took a lot out of Saturday’s game and this weekend gives the selected players their opportunity and a chance for us to improve our overall performance.”

15 Ben Foden (Northampton Saints)

14 Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)

13 Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby, captain)

12 Shontayne Hape (London Irish)

11 Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks)

10 Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)

9 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)

1 Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)

2 Steve Thompson (London Wasps)

3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)

4 Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers)

5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)

6 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)

7 Hendre Fourie (Sale Sharks)

8 Nick Easter (Harlequins)


16 Lee Mears (Bath Rugby)

17 Matt Stevens (Saracens)

18 Tom Palmer (Stade Francais)

19 James Haskell (Ricoh Black Rams)

20 Danny Care (Harlequins)

21 Charlie Hodgson (Saracens)

22 Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby)