Sheridan back for England

Double Lions tourist Andrew Sheridan will make his first appearance of the summer when England take on Ireland this Saturday. [more]

Sheridan back for England

Double Lions tourist Andrew Sheridan will make his first appearance of the summer when England take on Ireland this Saturday.

Sheridan missed the back-to-back clashes with Wales earlier this month after having an operation on his shoulder.

Question marks have surrounded the 2005 and 2009 Lion’s chances of returning to full fitness before the World Cup opener with Argentina but Sheridan will now have the perfect opportunity to put those doubts to bed.

Sheridan is one of six changes to the starting side beaten 19-9 in Cardiff a fortnight ago as Martin Johnson’s men look to avenge their Grand Slam deciding defeat in Dublin.

Veteran Lion Jonny Wilkinson starts ahead of Toby Flood at fly-half, with the Toulon playmaker set to become England’s second-most capped player behind Jason Leonard.

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Wilkinson will be making his 86th appearance, while Manu Tuilagi will win just his second cap after being selected alongside stand-in skipper Mike Tindall at outside centre. Tindall continues to wear the armband with Lewis Moody still sidelined with knee damage and in doing so the 2003 World Cup winner will draw level with Will Carling as England’s most experienced centre with 72 caps.

Chris Ashton returns to the right wing after his pre-match withdrawal at the Millennium Stadium and 2009 Test Lion Tom Croft starts at blindside flanker, with James Haskell having been give the all clear to come in on the openside after a positive scan on his foot.

Richard Wigglesworth is given another chance to impress at scrum-half having come off early on in Cardiff and back up No9 Joe Simpson could make his debut from the bench in the absence of Ben Youngs and World Cup injury victim Danny Care.

Steve Thompson continues at hooker ahead of Dylan Hartley and veteran second row Simon Shaw is included among the replacements.

“We expect a hugely competitive game in Dublin and it gives us the ideal run out before we depart for the World Cup,” said Johnson, whose side face Argentina in their opening  tournament fixture on September 10.

“These warm up fixtures have been valuable in terms of our preparation for the World Cup, giving players game time together.

"We are pleased to see Andrew Sheridan back in the mix after working hard to get back to full fitness and he, along with Chris Ashton, will get his first start since meeting up in camp.

“Mike Tindall captains the side and, as he reaches another milestone in the game, he further demonstrates the level of quality and experience he brings to the side as a player and leader.”

England (vs Ireland, Saturday, 2.30pm)

Ben Foden (Northampton Saints); Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Mike Tindall (Gloucester, captain), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens); Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks), Steve Thompson (London Wasps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), James Haskell (Ricoh Black Rams), Nick Easter (Harlequins)

Replacements: Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Simon Shaw (Unattached), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Delon Armitage (London Irish)

NB Bold denotes Lion

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