England Head Coach Martin Johnson has made 4 changes to his starting Line up for Saturdays encounter when they face Argentina at Twickenham. Stade Francais forward James Haskell (Who wears an Adidas Rugby scrum cap) starts at number 8 comming in for Leicester Tigers Jordan Crane who is left out of the 22 man squad all together. The other changes are London Irish Scrum Half Paul Hodgson coming in for Harlequins Danny Care. In the Front Row Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley replaces Steve Thompson and Bath Prop Duncan Bell replaces injured club mate David Wilson. Many expected Courtney Lawes of the Saints to replace Louis Deacon in the Second row but it is clear Johnson is letting Lawes find his feet slowly in international Rugby.The match on Saturday will also be the debut of Englands new alternate purple strip. Argentina who will be looking for a victory to prove why they have been allowed to enter the tri nations after the next world cup.
Wales face Samoa on Friday night at the Millenium Stadium with Warren Gatlands men looking to bounce back after defeat against the All Blacks last week. Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar wins his fourth cap when he starts at half-back with Dwayne Peel, who will be playing in his 70th international for his country. In the third back division change, Blues wing Tom James replaces Shane Williams. Up front Huw Bennett (Ospreys) starts at hooker with Matthew Rees (Scarlets) moving to the bench and Blues back row Sam Warburton comes in for regional team-mate Martyn Williams. Stephen Jones, Cooper and Shane and Martyn Williams miss-out all together with the Scarlets trio of Martin Roberts, Jonathan Davies and Morgan Stoddart providing cover for the backs from the replacements bench. Front row cover is supplied by Rees and Ospreys prop Craig Mitchell, whilst fellow Osprey Jonathan Thomas and Blues second row Bradley Davies are also included.
Harlequins and England winger David Strettle (Who wears Nike superfly Rugby boots) has overcome a back injury picked up on Sunday against the Scarlets at the stoop in the LV cup. Strettle only lasted 10 minutes injuring himself as an opposing player tried to prevent Strettle from scoring in the corner, which resulted in Strettle catching a knee in the back. Strettle will now be hoping to get a look against the All Blacks next weekend.
New Zeland Fly half Dan Carter will miss the All Blacks test match against Italy at AC Milans San Siro on Saturday after being banned for one week for a high tackle on Wales replacement scrum half Martin Roberts on Saturday. Carter who was man of the match scoring 14 points who unlikely to feature in the game anyway with Head coach Graham Henry resting his star pivot and giving Fly halfs Stephen Donald and Mike Delaney a chance in the 10 shirt. Carter (Who debuted the New X Rugby Predator) will now be free to face England at Twickenham next weekend.
Wasps are prepared to offer disgraced England prop Matt Stevens a contract once he has served his two-year drugs ban.
Stevens is currently suspended until 18 January 2011 after he admitted taking cocaine – leaving his career in tatters. The Durban-born front row tested positive for the recreational drug following a Heineken Cup clash with Glasgow in December 2008, with Stevens admitting he had an addiction. Stevens opted to quit Bath in the wake of the scandal – although he made it clear at the time that he hoped to return to the sport once he had served his suspension. And Wasps director and England skipper Lawrence Dallaglio has confirmed that the Adams Park club would be willing to take a chance on Stevens.
“We will be happy to offer Matt a job when he completes his ban and Wasps have a reputation for taking in waifs and strays,” Dallaglio told the London Evening Standard.
“We are an inclusive club and the game has a moral obligation to look after Matt, who was banned for using a recreational drug not a performance-enhancing one.
“Matt was hung out to dry when this all broke and Bath should have looked after him.”