x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Johnson recalls Worsley for Scotland clash

The Wasps flanker has not played for his country since November after suffering knee ligament damage while Deacon starts in the second row.

Joe Worsley, centre, in training yesterday with the rest of the England squad. The Wasps flanker will win his 73rd cap against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Joe Worsley, centre, in training yesterday with the rest of the England squad. The Wasps flanker will win his 73rd cap against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Joe Worsley will make his first England appearance since November when he lines up for Martin Johnson's side against Scotland on Saturday at Murryfield. The Wasps flanker has not played for his country since suffering knee ligament damage during the 19-6 defeat to New Zealand in the Autumn Internationals.

He replaces Lewis Moody, who has been the first choice in this year's Six Nations, in one of five changes made by Johnson to his squad for the Calcutta Cup clash. "It was a very tough call. It is not a reflection at all on how Lewis has played," Johnson, the England team manager, said. "It is more of a reflection on the strength and depth of the players we have in the squad. "We felt it was the best call to put Joe in the starting team and have Lewis on the bench to make an impact. They are two different players. They can both play six and seven. There is not a weakness in Lewis's game but Joe's defence is good and his ball-carrying is particularly strong."

Louis Deacon will start at second row, replacing Simon Shaw who is out with a shoulder injury. Courtney Lawes comes on to a reshuffled replacements' bench which features a return for Steve Thompson, the Brive hooker, and a first call-up for Ben Youngs, the Leicester scrum-half, who replaces Paul Hodgson. "Ben is playing well enough and we feel he deserves a chance," Johnson said. Andy Robinson, the Scotland coach, has brought Nick de Luca in at outside centre in the only change to his line-up. Max Evans moves to the left wing, with Simon Danielli dropping to the bench, to accommodate De Luca's first start since 2008.

Scotland have lost all three games in this year's tournament, including a 16-12 humbling by Italy last time out, but Robinson, the former England coach, said performances have been better than the results have suggested. "The team has played some good rugby and we have been creating chances. We just need to take that next step and finish off a game," said Robinson. "Max has been our most potent attacker and we also want to see Nick and the qualities that he can bring to this game."

Mike Blair, the scrum-half, and Alasdair Dickinson, the prop, are both ruled out of the game with concussion, while Alasdair Strokosch has an ankle injury. * With agencies