Flood replaces Goode for England

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The Independent Online

England will start with Toby Flood at fly-half in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations showdown with Ireland at Croke Park.

Flood's inclusion in place of Andy Goode is the only change made by Martin Johnson to the starting XV from England's 23-15 defeat to Wales two weekends ago.

Goode has been included on the bench along with scrum-half Danny Care, who has returned to the squad in place of Paul Hodgson after recovering from an ankle ligament strain.

Flood's inclusion ahead of Goode, his Leicester predecessor, means England will have changed their starting fly-half seven times in just 10 matches.

Twelve months ago, Jonny Wilkinson was the man in possession of the England number 10 jersey - but since then it has been passed between Flood, Goode, Danny Cipriani and Charlie Hodgson.

Flood has started at fly-half twice since the end of last year's championship - against New Zealand in Christchurch on the summer tour and at Twickenham in November.

Goode marked his return to the England side with a try inside two minutes against Italy and a 16-point haul.

He created England's first try against Wales with a lofted chip which Paul Sackey chased down - but he did not return to the action after being sin-binned early in the second half, with Flood sent on in his place.

England team to play Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations championship at Croke Park on Saturday, February 28 (kick-off 5.30pm):

D Armitage (London Irish); P Sackey (Wasps), M Tindall (Gloucester), R Flutey (Wasps), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); T Flood (Leicester), H Ellis (Leicester); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), L Mears (Bath), P Vickery (Wasps), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), N Kennedy (London Irish), J Haskell (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton), J White (Leicester), T Croft (Leicester), L Narraway (Gloucester), D Care (Harlequins), A Goode (Brive), M Tait (Sale Sharks).