Wilkinson back 'in good nick', claims Johnson

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Martin Johnson has defended his selection of Jonny Wilkinson in England's 32-man Elite Performance squad, describing him as "in good nick and raring to go". The England manager had said that his choice would be determined by form, but Wilkinson has not played for 10 months after dislocating his knee.

"He is a world-class player," Johnson said at Twickenham yesterday. "He was in here for a fitness assessment last week and he's in good nick. He's training fully and is raring to go. There are no assurances but nobody works harder than him on rehab and conditioning. Now he just needs to get out on the field and play."

Danny Cipriani has had to settle for a place in the 32-man second-string Saxons squad but Johnson said his "demotion" was purely down to form and nothing to do with any perceived attitude problem.