Mike Tindall named captain as England announce squad

Northampton flanker Tom Wood will make his England debut in Friday night's RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

Wood was not included in Martin Johnson's original 33-man squad but he has been promoted from the Saxons straight into the starting XV after injuries forced England to reshuffle their pack.



Lewis Moody and Tom Croft are both missing from the back row while Northampton lock Courtney Lawes is in danger of being sidelined for the whole championship with a knee injury.



With Moody out, Mike Tindall has been appointed England captain for the first time.



Wood, 24, will pack down at blindside flanker and offer England a back-row lineout option in Croft's absence, while James Haskell will start in the less familiar role on the openside.



Leicester lock Louis Deacon returns in the second row to partner Tom Palmer in place of Lawes.



Wood is in his first year with Heineken Cup quarter-finalists Northampton after three seasons at Worcester.



He was born in Coventry and played for the Barkers' Butts club, which lists Danny Grewcock and Neil Back among its international alumni.



Wood graduated through the Worcester academy and overcame a broken leg with a successful spell in New Zealand before forcing his way into the Warriors first team in the 2007-08 season.



The athletic 6ft 5in, 16st 7lb flanker broke into the Saxons squad this time last year and, after making an immediate impression at Franklin's Gardens, he is now in line for his Test debut in Cardiff.



Wood will don the six jersey. Haskell is traditionally a blindside but his breakdown and turnover work has been one of the big improvements in his game since moving to Stade Francais.

Johnson said of the new man: "It's a chance for Tom to come and play. Would he have got there with all the guys fit? He probably wouldn't, but he's worth a look and worth his place - he was very impressive in the autumn when he came in and the way he's playing, most importantly, with his club, he's a pretty impressive player.

"It's not great to have guys injured but great to get Tom on the field in a big-time Test match. He's 24, 25, so he's not in his first year of it, he's got a bit of experience.



"Tom's good in the breakdown, even though he's an aerial player, Louis Deacon is also a good all-round player, very good at the breakdown and very good organisationally in the line-out, so I think we're fine.



"We've got good carrying ability in that back five as well with James (Haskell) coming in, all those back-row guys are slightly different and it is a good combination we've got."



Tindall got the nod ahead of Nick Easter as captain, but Johnson backed the latter to marshal the pack and inexperienced scrum-half Ben Youngs.



He said: "Nick will do a good job leading the forwards, he's closer in to the play there and will give us direction with Ben and Toby (Flood) at 10.



"Mike's a good captain, very experienced, but if he's not there we've got Nick, Louis Deacon who's had a real good week as well - it's good to have him back and in good form."

Talk of the World Cup later in the year has featured prominently in the build-up to the game, but Johnson is refusing to look too far ahead.

"We want to push in competitions, which we always do," Johnson said. "If we win (the game) then great, if not we'll take our medicine and play from there.



"Despite what's happening later in the year - we all know about that - the Six Nations tournament as a stand-alone, if there were no other games for six months, it would still be a big game.



"The Six Nations is a great tournament and it's also five stand-alone important Test matches. We've got to go out there and perform with real tempo in what we do, real accuracy, real passion - that'll put us in a good place."





England team to play Wales in the RBS 6 Nations at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Friday, February 4 (kick-off 7.45pm):

B Foden (Northampton Saints); C Ashton (Northampton Saints), M Tindall (Gloucester, capt), S Hape (Bath), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Wood (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (Stade Francais), N Easter (Harlequins).



Replacements: S Thompson (Leeds Carnegie), D Wilson (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), J Wilkinson (Toulon), M Banahan (Bath).

Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
Sport
Hamilton runs down the back straight in the rain
F1
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing