Hodgson hoping to release wide boys

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson has been given license to reproduce Sale's blistering attacking style for England in the Test against Canada. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson has been given license to reproduce Sale’s blistering attacking style for England in the Test against Canada.

Hodgson returns to Twickenham as England’s starting fly-half for the first time since his record-breaking debut against Romania, one week short of three years ago.

He is joined in a new-look England back division by club team-mates Jason Robinson, captain in Jonny Wilkinson’s absence, and try-hungry winger Mark Cueto who will make his Test debut.

Sale, who also provide replacements Andy Titterall and Andrew Sheridan, top the European Premiership having scored 25 tries in eight matches and England coach Andy Robinson has urged Hodgson to set the backs flying.

"From the gameplan he has given us in attack, it is good for all the players involved. Henry Paul – he is a good player – and I will be looking to release Cueto, Josh Lewsey and Robinson out wide," said Hodgson.

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"The way we play at Sale is the way I enjoy playing and the way Jason enjoys playing. If you give the likes of Cueto and Jason a lot of freedom to run with the ball it causes problems for defences.

"If we can bring that into the way we play with England, hopefully we can be successful.

"It’s good being in charge of something like that, it’s something I enjoy.

"When you know you have got firepower out wide, it is exciting."

Robinson, the England captain, has talked of doing Canada some damage and the bad news for the Cannucks is that Hodgson, the man who would direct the carnage, is in no mood for benevolence.

It is a rare chance for the Sale stand-off, arguably England’s most natural attacking fly-half, whose international career has been hampered by injury and the presence of one Jonny Wilkinson to such an extent that he will win only his 12th cap.

Hodgson, though, feels in prime form having come through the turmoil of England’s summer tour Down Under and the disappointment that Wilkinson had originally been named England captain, thereby assuring his place in the side.

But with Wilkinson out injured, Hodgson is determined over the next three weeks, against Canada, South Africa and Australia, to force a change in the established order.

"I don’t know whether Jonny would be particularly happy to play at inside centre because he would be out of position. But I am an out-and-out fly-half and that’s where I want to play. I’ll just have to do my best to knock Jonny off the number 10 spot,’ said Hodgson.

England: J Robinson (Sale Sharks, capt); M Cueto (Sale Sharks), M Tindall (Bath), H Paul (Gloucester), J Lewsey (Wasps); C Hodgson (Sale Sharks), A Gomarsall (Gloucester); G Rowntree (Leicester), S Thompson (Northampton), J White (Leicester), D Grewcock (Bath), S Borthwick (Bath), L Moody (Leicester), A Hazell (Gloucester), M Corry (Leicester).
Replacements: A Titterrell (Sale Sharks), A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), B Kay (Leicester), H Vyvyan (Saracens), H Charlton (Newcastle), W Greenwood (Harlequins), B Cohen (Northampton).

Canada: D Daypuck (Castaway Wanderers); D Moonlight (University of Victoria), R Smith (Brampton Beavers), M Di Girolamo (Aurora), S Richmond (DeA Tigers, Hong Kong); E Fairhurst (Unviersity of Victoria), P Fleck (Meralomas); K Tkachuk (Glasgow), A Abrams (Castaway Wanderers), F Gainer (Dublin University), J Jackson (Leonessa), M Burak (Old Boy Ravens), J Cudmore (Grenoble), S McKeen (Pacific Pride), C Yukes (Agen).
Replacements: M Lawson (Velox Valhallians), G Cooke (Benevento), D Pletch (Oakville Crusaders), C Strubin (Capilano), D Spicer (University of Victoria), J Cannon (Coventry), S O’Leary (Meralomas).

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