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England bet on Goode start to Six Nations

Latest update : 2009-02-05

Flyhalf Andy Goode (pictured) will wear an England jersey for the first time since 2006 as the Red Rose takes on Italy for its Six Nations opener on Saturday. Flanker Steffon Armitage will make his international debut alongside his brother Delon.

REUTERS - Flyhalf Andy Goode will make his first England appearance since 2006 on Saturday after coach Martin Johnson named him in the starting team to face Italy in the opening game of the Six Nations at Twickenham.

 

Goode, back to his best at Brive after moving from Leicester last year, was drafted into the squad only last week as injury cover for Toby Flood, who was struggling with a calf strain.

 

Johnson had announced on Monday that Danny Cipriani had been demoted from the senior squad to play for the Saxons on Friday night.

 

Flanker Steffon Armitage will make his debut, lining up alongside brother Delon as the first England brotherly pairing since Rory and Tony Underwood in the 1990s.

 

Armitage gets his chance at open side in the absence of injured trio Tom Rees, Michael Lipman and Lewis Moody.

 

There are three other changes to the team thrashed 32-6 by New Zealand in the last of three home beatings in November.

 

The vastly experienced Mike Tindall comes in for Jamie Noon at outside centre and Mark Cueto, whose last appearance was England's losing World Cup final in 2007, replaces the injured Ugo Monye.

 

Andy Sheridan, who missed the New Zealand defeat through injury, returns to the front row, an area shorn of Matt Stevens following his drugs test failure last month.

 

Uncapped Ben Foden, who can cover scrumhalf and fullback, was named among the replacements, as were talented duo Shane Geraghty and Mathew Tait, who have struggled to establish themselves in the senior team after series of injuries.

 

Date created : 2009-02-03

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