England suffered a late injury blow today when Lewis Moody was ruled out of their RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against Wales in Cardiff.
The British and Irish Lions hopeful has struggled all week to recover from a hamstring injury and has finally been forced to concede defeat.
Sale Sharks forward Chris Jones, who made his England debut in last season’s Six Nations, will replace World Cup-winner Moody at blindside flanker alongside Andy Hazell and Joe Worsley in the back row.
Jones, 24, has not played for England since the first Test against New Zealand in Dunedin last summer.
But the 6ft 6in forward, who will win his sixth cap, will offer England a considerably enhanced lineout presence as they look to dominate the setpiece exchanges.
Moody meanwhile becomes the latest victim of England’s injury-hit preparations, joining the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Mike Tindall, Will Greenwood and Richard Hill on the sidelines