Full steam ahead: James Haskell on the charge

England manager Martin Johnson has made just two changes, both forced, to the England team which won 20-9 in Ireland just under two weeks ago. Delon Armitage comes in on the left wing for the injured Mark Cueto and Nick Easter returns at number 8. James Haskell, who played at number 8 against Ireland, reverts to openside flanker in place of Hendre Fourie, who is not in England’s Rugby World Cup 2011 squad.

1. Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks, age 31, 39 caps, 7 RWC matches)

– Second Rugby World Cup
– Started all seven of England’s matches at RWC 2007.
– Switched to playing prop after beginning his career in the second row.
– Plays guitar and released an acoustic rock album in 2010 entitled Where We Go From Here.

2. Steve Thompson (London Wasps, age 33, 68 caps, 4 tries, 6 RWC matches, 1 RWC try)
– Second Rugby World Cup.
– Made six appearances during Rugby World Cup 2003 and started in England’s final triumph against Australia.
– One of three starters from the 2003 Rugby World Cup final in England’s squad – Jonny Wilkinson and Mike Tindall are the others.
– One of nine players at Rugby World Cup 2011 who played in RWC 2003, but missed RWC 2007.
– Became England’s most capped hooker in March, taking the record from Brian Moore.
– Didn’t play for England for more than three years between 2006 and 2009 when a neck injury nearly ended his career. Returned to the England first XV against Argentina in the summer of 2009.
– Signed for London Wasps for the 2011/2012 season after his club, Leeds Carnegie, were relegated from the Premiership.

3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, age 24, 18 caps, 1 try)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Became first prop in 42 matches to score a try for England – his only Test try – against Ireland.
– Won 2009 and 2010 Premiership titles with his club.

4. Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers, age 30, 25 caps)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– One of eight England players to play every match of 2010 and 2011 Six Nations.
– Won five Premiership titles (2001, 2002, 2007, 2009, 2010) and two Heineken Cups (2001, 2002).

5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, age 22, 10 caps)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Named man of the series after England’s four autumn internationals in 2010.

6. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers, age 25, 26 caps, 2 tries)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Scored two tries in his first Test for the British and Irish Lions – the same as his total in 26 internationals for England.
– Graduated from representing England at Sevens, in 2006/2007.
– Won three Premiership titles (2007, 2009, 2010).

7. James Haskell (Ricoh Black Rams, Japan, age 26, 37 caps, 4 tries)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Was in England’s preliminary squad for Rugby World Cup 2007 but missed the final cut.
– Will move to Japanese club Ricoh Black Rams after RWC 2011 with the aim of playing Super Rugby in 2012 before rejoining London Wasps for the 2012/2013 season.
– Won 2007 Heineken Cup with London Wasps and Premiership titles with the club in 2004, 2005 and 2008.

8. Nick Easter (Harlequins, age 33, 44 caps, 5 tries, 6 RWC matches)
– Second Rugby World Cup.
– Started all six of his Rugby World Cup matches, missing only the RWC 2007 opener against the United States.
– Four of his five international tries came in the warm-up test against Wales just before RWC 2007.
– Father John was England’s No.1 squash player

9. Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, age 28, 8 caps, 1 try)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Returned to action for England this year after three years out of favour.
– His six previous starts for England have been with four different fly halves – Jonny Wilkinson, Danny Cipriani, Charlie Hodgson and Toby Flood.
– Can also play fly half or wing.
– Has won the Premiership title with two different clubs – Sale Sharks in 2006 and Saracens in 2011.

10. Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon, France, age 32, 87 caps, 1151 points – 6T, 157C, 234P, 35DG, 15 RWC matches, 249 RWC points – 1T, 23C, 53P, 13DG)
– Fourth Rugby World Cup.
– Equals the England record of four Rugby World Cups set by Jason Leonard in 2003 and equalled by Mike Catt last time.
– Only current England player to have started in both of the last two Rugby World Cup finals.
– No player at Rugby World Cup 2011 has played as many RWC matches as Wilkinson (15).
– Will join an elite group of 11 players with 16 or more Rugby World Cup matches, five of whom played for England.
– His 249 RWC points, 53 RWC penalties and 13 RWC drop goals are all records for the competition.
– His only RWC try dates back 12 years, to the match against Italy at RWC 1999.
– Became England’s most capped back last month
– In addition to his 1151 points for England, he has also scored 67 points for the British and Irish Lions, giving him a total of 1218 international points, 11 behind record-holder New Zealand’s Dan Carter (1229) prior to this World Cup.
– Has also played at centre for England but his last start in that position was before Rugby World Cup 1999.
– Won the Premiership title in 1998 with Newcastle Falcons.

11. Delon Armitage (London Irish, age 27, 22 caps, 39 points – 6 tries, 2 penalties, 1 drop goal)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Scored two of his six Test match tries against Argentina in June 2009.
– Played for France at under-16 level.
– First West Indian-born player to play Test match rugby for England (born in San Fernando, Trinidad).
– Played for England at the IRB World Sevens in 2005.
– Brother of Steffon, who has also played for England, and Guy who has represented England at under-20 level.
– Can play at wing, centre or full back although all his England starts have been in the latter position.

12. Mike Tindall (captain, Gloucester, age 32, 72 caps, 74 points – 14 tries, 2 conversions – 6 RWC matches, 1 RWC try)
– Second Rugby World Cup.
– Captains England for the seventh time, all in 2011. England have won five and lost one (against Wales last month) under his leadership.
– Equals squad captain Lewis Moody, who has also skippered seven Test matches.
– Played in six of England’s seven matches at Rugby World Cup 2003 but missed the tournament four years ago with a broken leg.
– One of nine players at Rugby World Cup 2011 who played in RWC 2003 but missed RWC 2007.
– One of two players in England’s squad – Lewis Moody is the other – to have played against all of his country’s Pool B opponents.
– As a schoolboy he started as a prop before working his way back through the scrum, then scrum half and finally his current position of centre.

13. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, age 20, 2 caps, 2 tries)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– At 20 years and 115 days, he is the youngest player to play a RWC match for England, breaking Wilkinson’s record by 15 days, and third youngest player from any team at Rugby World Cup 2011.
– Scored a try on each of his first two international appearances, against Wales and Ireland.
– Brother of Freddie, Henry, Alesana and Anitelea, all of whom have been capped by Samoa.
– Can also play wing.

14. Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints, age 24, 13 caps, 9 tries)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Top try scorer in this season’s Six Nations Championship with six tries.
– Like his idol Jason Robinson, Ashton has switched from rugby league, a sport in which he represented home-town club Wigan Warriors.
– Will start an international for the first time without Mark Cueto on the other wing.
– Played nine times for the England rugby league team, scoring eight tries.

15. Ben Foden (Northampton Saints, age 26, 17 caps, 3 tries)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Scored his first Test try on his first start for England, against France in 2010.
– Can also play at scrum half or on the wing and made his England debut as a replacement scrum half in February 2009.
– Also represented England at Sevens.


16. Dylan Hartley (hooker, Northampton Saints, age 25, 30 caps, 1 try)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Was not considered for Rugby World Cup 2007 due to a six-month suspension incurred in April that year.
– After nine appearances from the bench, made his first England starts in the June 2009 internationals against Argentina.
– Born in Rotorua, New Zealand.

17. Matt Stevens (prop, Saracens, age 28, 35 caps, 7 RWC matches)
– Second Rugby World Cup.
– Played in all seven of England’s matches at Rugby World Cup 2007, starting three.
– Can play on either side of the scrum.
– Won Premiership title in 2011.
– Born in Durban, South Africa.

18. Tom Palmer (second row, Stade Francais, France, age 32, 28 caps)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Spent some of his youth in New Zealand and represented New Zealand schools.
– Won Heineken Cup with London Wasps in 2007 and the Premiership title with the same club a year later.

19. Tom Wood (back row, Northampton Saints, age 24, 7 caps)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Won the 2011 Premiership Player of the Year award.

20. Ben Youngs (scrum half, Leicester Tigers, age 22, 12 caps, 1 try)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Played for England Sevens in the IRB World Series.
– Son of Nick Youngs, who won six England caps at scrum half between 1983 and 1984.
– Won three Premiership titles (2007, 2009 and 2010).

21. Toby Flood (fly half, Leicester Tigers, age 26, 42 caps, 202 points – 3T, 23C, 46PG, 1 DG, 3 RWC matches)
– Second Rugby World Cup.
– Called up as a replacement for Jamie Noon at Rugby World Cup 2007 and is the only England player under 24 from that squad who has made this year’s party of 30.
– Top points scorer in the 2011 Six Nations Championship with 50 points.
– Made his Test debut against Argentina in 2006 but has missed the subsequent three matches against them.
– Has played centre for England but not started in that position since March 2008.
– Won two Premiership titles in 2009 and 2010.

22. Matt Banahan (wing, Bath, age 24, 13 caps, 4 tries)
– Debut Rugby World Cup.
– Has scored a try in each of his three Test matches against Argentina, in June and November 2009.
– Represented England at Sevens in 2007/2008.
– At a height of 2.01m, he is the tallest back at this Rugby World Cup.
– Was originally a lock before his conversion to wing. Has also played centre for England.