Martin Johnson has placed a huge amount of faith in Northampton back rower Tom Wood, by handing him his Test debut in Cardiff on Friday night, coming in for captain Lewis Moody against Wales.

Johnson dare not go into the game without a credible lineout option with both Courtney Lawes and Tom Croft injured so he plumped for in-form Wood.

The backs pick themselves but Johnson’s other choices saw him replace Croft with James Haskell, who will also play seven while Louis Deacon’s excellent performances in recent weeks ensures that he won the race to replace Lawes, from Simon Shaw who is on the bench.

The bench looks a little unbalance and Johnson will hope that Ben Foden stays fit on Friday as he has no one to take his place in the full-back spot.

England: Foden; Ashton, Tindall (c), Hape, Cueto, Flood, Youngs; Sheridan, Hartley, Cole, Deacon, Palmer, Wood, Easter, Haskell.

Subs: Thompson, Wilson, Shaw, Worsley, Care, Wilkinson, Banahan.

  • ENS Ltd

    I am not overly confident about our back row but I suppose Johnson didn’t have much of an option. Does anyone else think Chris Robshaw might have been a good option?

  • CrazedSaint

    good to see tom wood is going to be making his debut, and even though they there is no full back replacement for foden, if the worst happens and he has to come off i think i would be confident with danny care slotting in as a make-shift full back, a very assured side despite the recent injuries.