Toby Flood expected to be fit for England

England last night provided a clear indication that Toby Flood will be fit for Sunday's Calcutta Cup showdown with Scotland by releasing Charlie Hodgson from the camp.

Flood, the Leicester fly-half, injured an Achilles during England's 17-9 victory over France, prompting manager Martin Johnson to put Jonny Wilkinson on stand-by during last week's training camp in Oxford.

But Flood's participation at Twickenham no longer appears to be in doubt, with Wilkinson set to retain his place on the bench for the Scotland game leaving Hodgson clear to return home.

Leeds flanker Hendre Fourie was also among the 10 players released, indicating that Leicester flanker Tom Croft will feature in the 22-man squad to face Scotland.

Croft has made three appearances for Leicester since recovering from the fractured shoulder he suffered playing for England against South Africa in the autumn.

Courtney Lawes, who was sidelined for England's first three RBS 6 Nations championship wins with knee ligament damage, has also been retained by Johnson ahead of Friday's team announcement.

Unbeaten England are priced as 1-14 favourites to despatch Scotland and leave themselves one step away from a first Grand Slam triumph since Johnson was captain in 2003.

Scotland, in contrast, are without a win in the championship and now strong wooden spoon contenders. They have not won at Twickenham since 1983.

Johnson believes that predicament will make Andy Robinson's team particularly dangerous.

"For Scotland to come to Twickenham and win would be a big result for them," Johnson said.

"It is an easy game for them in a way because everyone is talking about us. They will be desperate to get a win, desperate to win at Twickenham and beat England.

"They will be dangerous and we need to get ourselves at the right level. It would be a big result for us if we can win."

Johnson has no doubts his men will approach the Calcutta Cup clash with the right attitude because he places a huge amount of stock in the character of his players, a lesson learned from speaking to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"This is a big, big Test match and we need to be right at our very best and improve from what we did against France," Johnson said.

"Arsene Wenger was saying that you need the right characters in the group who will help you win.

"You need guys who want to win, be successful and who are always striving to be better.

"The younger players we have brought in have the talent skill-wise to play international rugby and they have the desire and the attitude they need to go from good players to become world-class players.

"You can't give that to them, that part of their personality has to be there.

"The young guys we've got are not here for fame or fortune, they are here because they want to be successful rugby players and to play well for England.

"It sounds a very simple thing. But you need those type of personalities in the squad and I think we've got quite a few there now."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album