Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rugby Union: Noon Gets the Nod for England

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Rugby Union: Noon Gets the Nod for England

Article excerpt

Byline: By NICK PUREWAL

JAMIE NOON will start at outside centre for England in Italy this weekend -getting the nod over clubmate Mathew Tait to replace injured Mike Tindall.

The Newcastle Falcon has been drawn in by head coach Brian Ashton as a like-for-like replacement for Gloucester man Tindall, who looks likely to miss the entire tournament.

Ashton has also given Jonny Wilkinson the nod over young pup Danny Cipriani after last weekend's dismal 26-19 defeat to Wales at Twickenham - England's first for 20 years.

Wilkinson's out-of-character pass led to Wales' first try as England suffered a second-half collapse, but Ashton knows only too well the record England points-scorer's mental strength.

As Ashton pointed out after last week's Six Nations opener, he will not make anyone a scapegoat for what was a team defeat, and Wilkinson's obvious experience is borne out by the fact that he is just four points shy of 1,000 in an England shirt.

Toby Flood starts at inside centre to complete an all-Newcastle midfield trio, and Mathew Tait takes a seat on the bench as England's mini injury glut takes hold.

And Flood reckons the all-Falcons midfield will flourish as England regain their poise in the competition.

He said: "We know what we did wrong last week, and this is our opportunity to put it right.

"We could have hung on for a win despite not playing well in the second half, but we didn't and that is firmly in the past.

"The only focus now is winning in Italy, which we know will be a tough ask.

"They are a good, passionate side with a strong pack and it will be a big test - but that's exactly what we need to help us bounce back, and I'm sure we will."

Ashton has lost Tom Rees, Lewis Moody and David Strettle to add to the missing Tindall - all four casualties of that brutal Wales defeat.

Wasps flanker Rees is definitely out of the tournament with damaged knee ligaments, while Harlequin Strettle's broken metatarsal is likely to render him likewise.

Gloucester centre Tindall has bruising to his liver and is unlikely to feature in the tournament again, while Moody's Achilles problem is not considered quite so severe. …

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