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).

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003