Wilkinson keeps place in team


BAGSHOT, February 23 – Jonny Wilkinson was named Tuesday in the England team to play Ireland in Saturday's Six Nations international after overcoming a "muscle tightness" problem.The fly-half was a member of a starting side unchanged from the one that struggled to beat Italy 17-12 in Rome last weekend when Wilkinson, who unusually three missed goalkicks, was much criticised for failing to ignite England’s back division.

England manager Martin Johnson did make changes to his bench as he opted for a split of four forwards and three backs.

Lee Mears, who didn’t feature in the November Tests through injury, replaced Steve Thompson as reserve hooker.

Meanwhile experienced back-rower Joe Worsley, fit again after a knee injury, replaced Steffon Armitage and Northampton full-back Ben Foden came onto the bench instead of replacement prop Matt Mullan.

Six Nations champions Ireland, beaten 33-10 by France last time out, were due to name their side later Tuesday.

In last year’s corresponding fixture, Ireland beat England 14-13 in Dublin.

England (15-1)

Delon Armitage; Mark Cueto, Mathew Tait, Riki Flutey, Ugo Monye; Jonny Wilkinson, Danny Care; Nick Easter, Lewis Moody, James Haskell; Steve Borthwick (capt), Simon Shaw; Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Tim Payne

Replacements: Lee Mears, David Wilson, Louis Deacon, Joe Worsley, Paul Hodgson, Toby Flood, Ben Foden