Lion cleared as England make changes

Former Lions wing Mark Cueto will be free to play for England this weekend after he was cleared of a dangerous tackle. [more]

Lion cleared as England make changes

Former Lions wing Mark Cueto will be free to play for England this weekend after he was cleared of a dangerous tackle.

Cueto, who won a Lions Test cap in the third rubber against New Zealand in 2005, was in danger of missing the remainder of England’s summer tour following a clash with Wallaby centre Berrick Barnes.

The Sale wing faced a minimum two-week ban if found guilty, meaning his season would have come to a premature end.

But England can breathe a sigh of relief after ex-Lions Rob Andrew and Martin Johnson accompanied Cueto to a disciplinary hearing at which the charge was dismissed by New Zealand judicial officer Peter Hobbs.

England face Australia in the second-Test of the two-match series this Saturday, with Cueto expected to start in Sydney, especially after he wasn’t included in the matchday squad for Tuesday’s clash with the Australian Barbarians.

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Johnson has made seven changes for that encounter from the starting side that drew 28-28 with the same opposition as he continues his attempt to give his entire 44-man touring party valuable game time Down Under.

Lions Test cap Joe Worsley skippers the side from the blindside flank, while fellow 2009 tourist Lee Mears starts at hooker but Lions wing Ugo Monye isn’t involved having played in last Tuesday’s corresponding fixture.

Gloucester lock Dave Attwood keeps his mid-week place despite disciplinary issues last time out, while centre Dominic Waldouck and wing David Strettle are set for their first tour starts.

Props Jon Golding and Paul Doran-Jones also start in Gosford, while Dan Ward-Smith moves to lock, so James Haskell and Steffon Armitage join Worsley in the back row.

Haskell is the only starter from the Saturday squad that lost to Australia in Perth, although Matthew Tait is named among the replacements.

"It was always the plan to give guys like Joe Worsley and James Haskell a start on this tour, rather than just coming off the bench in Test matches," said Johnson.

"We have made some changes and there is an element of giving guys an opportunity to play so it is not just form related.

"Our first game against the Barbarians was similar to the Test. When we did things well we were effective; when we made mistakes we were punished.

"Coming off our first two matches we can improve. That team has improved a heck of a lot in training this week.

"They did a good job in the time they had to get ready for last week but after looking at the game and analysing it the training they have done has been at a higher level."

England: Delon Armitage, David Strettle, Dominic Waldouck, Olly Barkley, Matt Banahan, Charlie Hodgson, Richard Wigglesworth, James Haskell, Steffon Armitage, Joe Worsley (capt), Dave Attwood, Dan Ward-Smith, Jon Golding, Lee Mears, Paul Doran-Jones

Replacements: Rob Webber, David Flatman, Chris Robshaw, Phil Dowson, Paul Hodgson, Shane Geraghty, Mathew Tait

NB Bold denotes Lion

Australian Barbarians: Peter Hynes, Nick Cummins, Will Chambers, Anthony Faingaa, Lachie Turner, Kurtley Beale, Josh Valentine, Stephen Hoiles (captain), Pat McCutcheon, Ben McCalman, Rob Simmons, Mitchell Chapman, Laurie Weeks, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Pekahou Cowan

Replacements: Huia Edmonds, James Slipper, Mark Chisholm, Matt Hodgson, Luke Burgess, Berrick Barnes, James O'Connor

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