Flood, Lawes and Croft fit for England

ENGLAND manager Martin Johnson looks set to pick Toby Flood at fly-half and recall fit-again pair Courtney Lawes and Tom Croft when they resume their grand slam quest in Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Scotland.

Flood was an injury doubt, having suffered an achilles problem in the win over France 11 days ago, but Johnson last night revealed his confidence in the Leicester No10’s condition by releasing potential replacement Charlie Hodgson.

Leeds flanker Hendre Fourie was also among the 10 players allowed to return to their clubs, suggesting that Leicester’s Croft could be handed his first start of the championships.

Lawes (right), meanwhile, is back in Johnson’s plans after the Northampton lock, voted man of the series for last year’s November internationals, crowned his comeback from a two-month lay-off by rejoining the squad this week.

Captain Lewis Moody, who has missed all three of England’s games in the competition so far, is still recovering from his knee injury and is set to miss out again, although Johnson left the door open for him to return in the final fixture against Ireland.

“It is still possible,” said Johnson, who will name his team to face Scotland on Friday. “He is desperate to get back and has worked very, very hard and is very, very unfortunate to get the same injury again.”

Other players released last night include Harlequins pair Chris Robshaw and Joe Marler, Wasps duo Tim Payne and Joe Simpson, and Saracens’ David Strettle.