ENGLAND manager Martin Johnson will take his most significant step yet towards global domination today when he names his team to take on Argentina on Saturday with a warning from former skipper Martin Corry ringing in his ears.
Johnson has been hampered by injuries to his captain Lewis Moody, scrum-half Ben Youngs and winger Mark Cueto, who was ruled out yesterday with a back problem.
London Irish’s versatile back Delon Armitage is expected to cover for the experienced Sale star, while Richard Wigglesworth, promoted in the absence of Danny Care, will step in for Youngs, who is still recovering from knee surgery.
Johnson, and the rest of his squad, took time out from their Argentine preparations yesterday to visit the earthquake-ravaged city of Christchurch which was scheduled to play host to England’s game against the Pumas.
Sadly, the iconic Lancaster Park, now known as the AMI Stadium, still bears the scars of the disaster which claimed 182 lives and caused damage estimated at £15.5 billion.
England will instead head to Dunedin for what promises to be one of the highlights of the early stages of the tournament against the surprise semi-finalists from four years ago.
Santiago Phelan has been denied the services of talismanic fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez, and his side come into the tournament cold having played only one Test, which they lost comprehensively against Wales in Cardiff, this year.
Despite the lack of form indicators Corry (left), who played in the Paris final back in 2007, said England cannot afford to take the South Americans lightly.
He said: “They are a tough side but Argentina’s style of play has not changed much since 2007, and they have not played much rugby, but people underestimated them in France and look what happened.
“I think England have been inconsistent, so there is not a huge amount of confidence.
“But England have been very good at times and in the last 12 months they have beaten everyone in their side of the draw.”