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Armitage to face Scotland

Delon Armitage will start on the left wing for England in place of Mark Cueto in Saturday's decisive Rugby World Cup Pool B showdown with Scotland.

Armitage features as one of three changes from last weekend's 67-3 victory over Romania, which was sparked by a quick-fire hat-trick from Cueto on his comeback from injury.

Matt Stevens starts at loosehead prop following an ankle injury and Courtney Lawes returns to the second row, having served a two-match ban. An England victory will seal their passage to the World Cup quarter-finals as group winners - but defeat without any bonus points could bring their campaign to a crashing halt.

Armitage missed England's Six Nations campaign after being suspended for eight weeks following a run-in with an anti-doping official.

But Martin Johnson has been impressed with Armitage's form and dedication - and he gets his chance against Scotland with Cueto deemed to still not be 100% match fit after a back injury.

"Delon has played very well, we are very comfortable with him playing there and Mark has had limited game time since he has been here," said Johnson.

"We thought Courtney was playing very well. He hasn't played for two weeks but we are very comfortable he will come and perform for us. He has played very well. I said all the way through that if Delon is in good form he is a Test match player.

Alex Corbisiero and Tom Palmer drop to the bench but there is no place in the 22 for Cueto, with the more versatile Matt Banahan preferred among the replacements.

Number eight Nick Easter has replaced Tom Wood among the replacements after recovering from the back injury that kept him sidelined from the victories over Georgia and Romania.

Chris Ashton, whose five tries so far make him the tournament's leading try-scorer, Ben Foden, Manu Tuilagi, Dan Cole and James Haskell will all have started every England pool game. Captain Lewis Moody will win his 70th cap on Saturday and Jonny Wilkinson his 90th.


From Belfast Telegraph