England v Ireland, Twickenham, February 27
England wait on Wilkinson fitness
February 23, 2010
England are waiting on the fitness of fly-half Jonny Wilkinson © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson will name his side to face Ireland on Tuesday, but is waiting on the fitness of fly-half Jonny Wilkinson.
The Twickenham showdown will pit a wounded Ireland against Johnson's unbeaten England, although the home side will need to vastly improve their performance from a scrappy win over Italy if they are to trouble Ireland, who will be eager to bounce back after defeat to France.
Sale pivot Charlie Hodgson has been called into the senior squad as cover for Wilkinson, who is suffering from 'muscle tightness'. Wilkinson's performance against Italy was widely criticised as their backline failed to fire, although Johnson looks set to stick with his under-fire fly-half rather than turn to Leicester's Toby Flood.
"You have players who are not in the team who are potentially better at some areas of the game than guys that are in the team. You have to weigh up that overall impact," he said. "We have good depth in that position. We are lucky to have two world-class players at 10."
Brive's Jamie Noon has also been added to the squad after Leicester centre Dan Hipkiss suffered an ankle injury on Guinness Premiership duty at the weekend. The final injury concern surrounds flanker Joe Worsley, who played for Wasps on Sunday but did not train on Monday.