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England Picks Wilkinson, Flood; Botha Is Out: World Cup Roundup

October 06, 2011

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The following is a roundup of stories from the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Flood, Wilkinson

England made four starting changes, including picking Toby Flood at inside center outside fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, for the quarterfinal against France in Auckland on Oct. 8.

Flood replaces Mike Tindall, who got a dead leg in the win over Scotland, while Wilkinson has shaken off an arm injury. Mark Cueto returns on the wing for the suspended Delon Armitage.

“You have two guys on the same wavelength, that focus on the same things with a similar way of sorting out problems,” Wilkinson said in comments distributed by tournament organizers. “Having Toby there is very reassuring. It is reassuring knowing that if I am at the bottom of a ruck, then there is someone there making decisions and thinking like a 10.”

In the forwards, Nick Easter takes over from James Haskell at No. 8 and Tom Palmer starts at lock ahead of Courtney Lawes.

Botha Ruled Out

South Africa second-rower Bakkies Botha will miss the remainder of the Springboks’ World Cup title defense because of an Achilles tendon injury, team officials said.

Botha, who’s played 76 Tests, will leave the squad tomorrow. He’s the second Springbok this week to be ruled out of the tournament after back Frans Steyn, who injured his shoulder playing against Samoa on Sept. 30.

The Springboks said they’ll decide on a replacement pending the result of the Oct. 9 quarterfinal against Australia in Wellington. Botha wasn’t included when South Africa announced its team for the match earlier today.

“I’ll be sitting at home with my family on Sunday with a tear on my cheek as the team takes on the Wallabies,” Botha said in a South African Rugby Union statement.

JP Pietersen successfully passed a fitness test on his injured knee and will take his place on the right wing against the Wallabies. Jean de Villiers was named at inside center in place of the injured Steyn.

SOUTH AFRICA: Patrick Lambie, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Schalk Burger, Heinrich Brussow, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Jannie du Plessis, John Smit (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp.

Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, CJ van der Linde, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Francois Hougaard, Butch James, Gio Aplon.

Wales Changes Quartet

Wales made four changes to its lineup for the Oct. 8 quarterfinal against Ireland in Wellington, recalling flanker Dan Lydiate and winger Shane Williams after they recovered from injuries.

Alun Wyn Jones and Jonathan Davies were promoted from the replacements” bench to second row and outside center, respectively. Leigh Halfpenny was chosen at full-back ahead of the returning James Hook and Lee Byrne, who drops out of the 22.

“We had some tough decisions to make with the likes of Dan, Shane and James returning from injury and the side having done so well in their recent absence,” Wales coach Warren Gatland said. “We believe it is the side which gives us the best chance of winning this game against an Ireland team which not only topped their group but beat the Wallabies on the way.”

WALES: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips, Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton (captain), Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Adam Jones, Huw Bennett, Gethin Jenkins.

Replacements: Lloyd Burns, Paul James, Bradley Davies, Ryan Jones, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams.

Best Chance

Ireland included Rory Best in its team submitted at the deadline for the quarterfinal against Wales as the hooker continues his recovery from a shoulder injury.

With all matchday squads of 22 needing to be named 48 hours before kickoff, Best’s inclusion signals he has a chance of overcoming a sprained shoulder joint in time to take on the Welsh. Sean Cronin was named as the backup hooker on the bench.

IRELAND: Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll (captain), Gordon D’Arcy, Keith Earls, Ronan O’Gara, Conor Murray, Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien, Stephen Ferris, Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mike Ross, Rory Best, Cian Healy.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Tom Court, Donnacha Ryan, Denis Leamy, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble

--Editor: Christopher Elser

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Auckland at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net


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