Rugby Union: England pair fit

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The Independent Online
AFTER their injury-ravaged build- up, England for a change had some good news on the physical front yesterday when Tim Rodber and Dewi Morris were passed fit to face New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday, writes Steve Bale.

Rodber, the 6ft 6in flanker brought back with a particular eye on the line-out, took a full part in the session at The Stoop after recovering from a shoulder injury. Scrum-half Morris started but did not finish, due to the after-effects of flu. His place is expected to be confirmed today, however.

The team came together during the afternoon, rather than the usual evening assembly, to ensure their training would not be frost-bound. Unlike the Scots, who gathered 100 hours before they played - and lost 51-15 - against the All Blacks, England stayed within the International Rugby Board's 72-hour limit.

The All Blacks trained yesterday - and will do so again today - at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Their team, unchanged from the hammerers of the Scots provided Matthew Cooper is fit, will be named this morning.

Barring a blizzard, the game will proceed. The Twickenham pitch has been under tarpaulins every night since the weekend. With the new East Stand in full use for the first time, it is a 68,000 sell-out.

The French flanker Laurent Cabannes will miss the entire Five Nations' Championship after having a knee operation. France begin their defence of the title against Ireland in Paris on 15 January.