Johnson ready to home in on Flood

Chris Hewett
Saturday 09 January 2010 01:00

Assuming the weather de-Arcticizes itself before mid-March, the backlog of unplayed Guinness Premiership matches should be eased, thanks to a brief lull in the fixture frenzy. By contrast, there is nothing easy about Martin Johnson's selection for the Six Nations Championship, and if England's manager was hoping for a little last-minute illumination during this benighted weekend, his luck is out.

Johnson might have relished a look at Chris Ashton of Northampton ahead of the big squad announcement on Wednesday, but the hottest try-scoring wing in the country will not be playing at Bath this afternoon. The same goes for David Flatman, who surely deserves a chance at loose-head prop – one of England's weakest positions – and Matt Banahan, whose international place is under threat.

The parlous state of the rickety old Recreation Ground has hurt home players as well as visiting ones. Only one of the six matches has a chance of going ahead, so Johnson has a straightforward choice: Welford Road in Leicester, which he knows like the back of his hand having spent his entire playing career within its confines , or the local pub – an option with which he is equally familiar, in all probability. Given that the Leicester-Wasps match pits Toby Flood against Danny Cipriani, two of the more compelling outside-halves in the English game, he would be well advised to forego his pint.

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