ARGENTINA vs ENGLAND
RECALLED winger Delon Armitage insists his inclusion in the England side to face Argentina on Saturday does not represent a gamble by manager Martin Johnson, despite the disciplinary problems which have stunted his international career.
The London Irish star missed the entire Six Nations campaign earlier this year as a result of the ban he incurred for clashing with a doping official after the Exiles’ defeat at Bath.
Shortly after his return the 27-year-old was suspended for a further three weeks after punching Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler, but Armitage promised he was capable of keeping his discipline on the eve of England’s crunch World Cup opener.
“What’s happened has happened. [The England management] didn’t really need to say anything to me. I just had to train hard,” said Armitage, who replaces injury victim Mark Cueto.
“My record for England is really good, I’ve never had a problem or issues with discipline. There was nothing for me to really fix.
“I just wanted to keep doing what I’m doing for England and get some form back.”
Aside from Armitage’s selection, the headline team news came in the form of Johnson’s decision to pick Jonny Wilkinson at fly-half in preference to Toby Flood, while Richard Wigglesworth will deputise for Ben Youngs at No9.
On his own selection, meanwhile, a surprised Armitage added: “I didn’t even think I’d be over here so it’s a massive turnaround. If you do the hard work, the right things, sometimes you get your rewards.
“When Martin said I would be starting he mentioned it was because of the way I’d been training. It’s massive satisfaction.”
TEAMS | ARGENTINA V ENGLAND
ARGENTINA Martin Rodriguez, Gonzalo Camacho, Gonzalo Tiesi, Santiago Fernandez, Horacio Agulla, Felipe Contepomi (captain), Nicolas Vergallo, Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Juan Figallo, Manuel Carizza, Patricio Albacete, Julio Farias Cabello, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Fernandez Lobbe
ENGLAND Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Mike Tindall (captain), Delon Armitage, Jonny Wilkinson, Richard Wigglesworth, Andrew Sheridan, Steve Thompson, Dan Cole, Louis Deacon, Courtney Lawes, Tom Croft, James Haskell, Nick Easter