27 Oct 2009

Wilkinson and Thompson in England rugby squad

7:29 am on 27 October 2009

World Cup winning duo Jonny Wilkinson and Steve Thompson have been named in England's 32-man rugby squad for next month's internationals against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

First-five Wilkinson and hooker Thompson, who shared the Sydney field with England manager Martin Johnson in the 2003 World Cup triumph over Australia, have both found form in France.

Johnson, without 12 first-team candidates due to injury, has also included new caps in Bath prop David Barnes, Leicester lock Richard Blaze and 20-year-old Northampton second rower Courtney Lawes.

Among the absentees are British and Irish Lions forwards Phil Vickery and Simon Shaw while backs Delon Armitage and Riki Flutey are also sidelined.

Saracens lock Steve Borthwick retains the captaincy.

Johnson says all 32 players are eager for three consecutive weeks of high-quality rugby, beginning with Australia on November 7th and followed by Argentina and finally New Zealand on consecutive weeks.


Backs: Matt Banahan, Danny Care, Mark Cueto, Ben Foden, Shane Geraghty, Andy Goode, Dan Hipkiss, Paul Hodgson, Ugo Monye, David Strettle, Mathew Tait, Mike Tindall, Richard Wigglesworth, Jonny Wilkinson.

Forwards: Steffon Armitage, David Barnes, Duncan Bell, Richard Blaze, Steve Borthwick, George Chuter, Jordan Crane, Tom Croft, Louis Deacon, Dylan Hartley, James Haskell, Ben Kay, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Moody, Tim Payne, Steve Thompson, David Wilson, Joe Worsley.