Andy’s Goode to go

Andy Goode looks set to end England's troubled autumn Test series exactly where he finished their RBS 6 Nations campaign - as fly-half at Twickenham. [more]

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Andy Goode looks set to end England’s troubled autumn Test series exactly where he finished their RBS 6 Nations campaign – as fly-half at Twickenham.

The Leicester points machine is favourite to replace a stricken Charlie Hodgson for Saturday’s second Test against South Africa.

It would be only his third England start from nine appearances as the world champions target a quickfire double following a torturous 23-21 victory over the Springboks three days ago.

Hodgson and prop Andrew Sheridan will not play again this season for club or country after suffering serious injuries during Saturday’s opening Boks clash.

The Sale Sharks pair face surgery during the next week, in Hodgson’s case to repair a ruptured cruciate knee ligament, with Sheridan having suffered a fractured left ankle and associated ligament damage.

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They will miss the entire 2007 RBS 6 Nations and appear to have little chance of making England’s two-Test tour of South Africa in late May and early June.

That would leave them with just three scheduled World Cup warm-up games before England head to France and their tournament opener against the USA in Lens on September 8.

England head coach Andy Robinson is due to name his starting line-up later today, when he could also consider Goode’s fly-half rivals Toby Flood and Olly Barkley, although Barkley has played only one Guinness Premiership game since recovering from injury.

Phil Vickery, who made a try-scoring return to Test rugby off the bench on Saturday, will probably replace Sheridan, albeit in an unfamiliar position of loosehead prop, with Julian White retained at tighthead.

Other changes could be kept to a minimum, although uncapped 22-year-old Wasps openside flanker Tom Rees undoubtedly deserves a start in the back row.

Robinson has called Wasps prop Tim Payne into his training squad this week, while Rees, Wasps wing Paul Sackey, Gloucester centre Anthony Allen, Saracens counterpart Ben Johnston, Bath lock Danny Grewcock and Sale flanker Magnus Lund were also added to the group.

While England begin preparations for the autumn finale, Premiership champions Sale have seen Hodgson and Sheridan go the same way as their Scotland flanker Jason White, whose season is over due to a knee injury.

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