Tindall out of Slam decider

2011-03-17 17:46

Bagshot - England captain Mike Tindall was ruled out of this weekend's Six Nations Grand Slam decider in Dublin on Thursday after failing to recover from an ankle injury in time.

The enforced absence of Tindall was the only change as Martin Johnson named his side for Saturday's clash at Lansdowne Road, where England are chasing their first Grand Slam in eight years.

Tindall has been been replaced by powerful Bath centre Matt Banahan, who came on at half-time during Sunday's 22-16 win over Scotland at Twickenham. Banahan's place on the bench is taken by Saracens' David Strettle.

Harlequins number eight Nick Easter will lead England in the absence of Tindall, who was awarded the captaincy at the start of the tournament after injury ruled Lewis Moody out of the championship.

Easter will be leading England in a Test match for the second time after captaining the side against Samoa last November.

Banahan, 24, will be making only his second Test start at outside centre; his first five England caps all came on the wing.

The 6ft 7in powerhouse - a converted lock forward - made an instant impression against Scotland last weekend after replacing Tindall.

There were fears he may be cited after a shuddering collision with Kelly Brown that left the Scotland number eight needing to be stretchered from the field. Banahan had denied leading with his forearm in the clash.

England (15-1)

Ben Foden (Northampton); Chris Ashton (Northampton), Matt Banahan (Bath), Shontayne Hape (Bath), Mark Cueto (Sale); Toby Flood (Leicester), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Nick Easter (Harlequins/capt), James Haskell (Stade Francais), Tom Wood (Northampton); Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Louis Deacon (Leicester); Dan Cole (Leicester), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish)

Replacements: Paul Doran-Jones (Gloucester), Tom Croft (Leicester), Danny Care (Harlequins), Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon), Steve Thompson (Leeds Carnegie), Simon Shaw (Wasps), David Strettle (Saracens)