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England to welcome back the injured

Martin Johnson expects his brigade of walking wounded to be back in full training by Monday and fit for selection in England's opening World Cup clash against Argentina.

England captain Lewis Moody and Ben Youngs both travelled to New Zealand with knee injuries while Mark Cueto suffered a back spasm in Saturday's 20-9 victory over Ireland. Tom Wood and Nick Easter both missed the Aviva Stadium victory with calf problems and Mike Tindall was replaced before the end with a tight hamstring.

Simon Shaw arrived in Auckland on Thursday after his departure was delayed by a stomach bug. Johnson said: "Injury-wise they are all progressing well. We expect them all to be fit to train fully at the latest on Monday when we are in Dunedin."

He added: "They are always training, but I mean be there, not restricted in whatever they do on Monday. That is the plan at the moment.

"Simon Shaw got here [on Thursday] morning and he looks very well. They are all OK."

England were greeted at Auckland airport by around 300 supporters and their arrival in New Zealand led the national news.

The squad spent Thursday afternoon aboard an old America's Cup boat on Auckland harbour.

"It was a great welcome," said Johnson.

"People talk about World Cups for a long time and to actually get there and see the excitement was good fun.

"It was a nice way to come in. It is like the countdown has started. The whole world of rugby is here."


From Belfast Telegraph