Wilkinson Returns to England Side to Take On Wallabies
Hooker Steve Thompson makes his first Test start since 2006 while flanker Lewis Moody also returns in the pack. Leicester Tigers number eight Jordan Crane and inside centre Shane Geraghty, both 23, get first Test starts, while prop David Wilson, 24, starts only his second. The uncapped pair of Courtney Lawes and Ayoola Erinle are both on the bench. Erinele a who now plays for Biaritz was some what of a surprise call up but no one can doubt his power and tacke breaking running.
Dylan Hartley’s hamstring problems over the last week have opened the door for World cup winning hooker Steve Thompson and Hartley, who succeeded Thompson in the number two shirt at Northampton, has to settle for a place on the bench.
Thompson and Wilkinson (Who wears Adidas predator powerswerve rugby boots) will feature in the same England team for the first time since the 2003 World Cup final against the Wallabies. Wilkinson’s career has been ravaged by injuries since he kicked England to victory in 2003 and the serious knee injury he suffered playing for Newcastle last September means he has not played a Test since the last game of the 2008 Six Nations against Ireland.
However, since regaining full fitness and moving to French side Toulon in the summer, he has been injury free. Monye, normally a winger but who has been playing at full-back for Harlequins this season, will fill the number 15 shirt with Bath’s Matt Banahan and Sale’s Mark Cueto on the wings.
Geraghty and Dan Hipkiss form the centre partnership while Danny Care edges out Paul Hodgson for the scrum-half shirt. Crane, who has previously won two caps off the bench, makes his first Test start in an all-Leicester back row alongside Croft and Moody.
In the front row Thompson packs down between Wilson, who wins his third cap, and Wasps loose-head Tim Payne, while Borthwick and Louis Deacon continue the second row partnership which started both summer Tests against Argentina.
England team to face Australia: U Monye (Harlequins); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), D Hipkiss (Leicester), S Geraghty (Northampton), M Banahan (Bath); J Wilkinson (Toulon), D Care (Harlequins); T Payne (Wasps), S Thompson (Brive), D Wilson (Bath), L Deacon (Leicester), S Borthwick (Saracens, capt), T Croft (Leicester), L Moody (Leicester), J Crane (Leicester).
Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton), D Bell (Bath), C Lawes (Northampton), J Haskell (Stade Francais), P Hodgson (London Irish), A Goode (Brive), A Erinle (Biarritz).