MARTIN JOHNSON insists the door is still open for scrum-half Danny Care after he was left out of the England starting line-up for tomorrow’s second Test with Australia in Sydney.
The Harlequins man was criticised for his performance in the 27-17 first Test defeat in Perth last Saturday and now makes way for Leicester’s Ben Youngs to make a first England start.
Johnson has also handed a full debut to Northampton lock Courtney Lawes, who comes in for veteran second-row Simon Shaw, but the team boss insists his selection is a result of squad rotation and is not a reflection of form.
“This is a great opportunity for Ben, who has been with us since the middle of the Six
Nations – the same for Courtney,” he said.
“Ben brings something different to Danny but it is not a reflection on Danny’s
performance. It is just an opportunity to get Ben on the field.
“It is a tough call on Danny, who has not done anything particularly wrong. Simon Shaw certainly hasn’t done anything wrong but Courtney Lawes has really stepped up in the last few weeks since we have been together. He is very athletic and gets around the field and is very aggressive.”
While Care and Shaw make way, Johnson has stuck with fly-half Toby Flood and inside
centre Shontayne Hape in the midfield, resisting the temptation to bring back Jonny
Wilkinson into the XV.
Mike Tindall also keeps his place after recovering from a dead leg, but there is no place
for Mathew Tait.
The Wallabies, meanwhile have recalled inside centre Matt Giteau and scrum-half Will Genia.