Cueto out of opener

Mark Cueto will miss England's opening World Cup match against Argentina with a back injury. [more]

Cueto out of opener

Mark Cueto will miss England’s opening World Cup match against Argentina with a back injury.

The 2005 Test Lion had been expected to start the Pool B fixture in Dunedin having featured in all eight of England’s internationals so far this year.

But Cueto will now sit out the clash with the Pumas having failed to fully recover from a reoccurring injury that he has been treating with pain killing injections.

The Sale wing forced off the field during the first half of England’s win over Ireland in Dublin a week-and-a-half ago after complaining that the pain in his back was transferring down into his quad muscle and affecting his acceleration.

He could be ruled out for two to three weeks but it is hoped he will in fact be fit enough to be in contention for the second group game against Georgia on September 18.

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With Cueto unavailable for Argentina, England team manager Martin Johnson is expected to turn to London Irish full back Delon Armitage on the right wing.

Armitage impressed in the recent World Cup warm-up fixtures and is likely to be chosen ahead of Matt Banahan, with the Bath back likely to earn a place on the bench.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs is thought to be fit enough for selection having recovered from the knee operation that saw him miss all three summer Tests. But the Leicester youngster looks set to only be named among the replacements, with Johnson expected to stick with Saracens’ Richard Wigglesworth at No9.

Nick Easter is likely to return at No8 having missed the Aviva Stadium success, meaning James Haskell will switch to the openside flank – the position held by World Cup absentee Hendre Fourie in Dublin.

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