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Johnson confident on squad fitness

Martin Johnson is expecting to have a fully fit squad going into England's World Cup opener against Argentina.

Captain Lewis Moody, scrum-half Ben Youngs (both knee) and forwards Tom Wood and Nick Easter (both calf) all missed Saturday's final warm-up match in Ireland, while Mark Cueto suffered a back injury during the victory in Dublin.

But Johnson said: "We're pretty confident everyone will be fit to train in the Argentina week. Tom Wood and Nick Easter, with their injuries in particular, and Mark Cueto should be fine by the end of the week."

Yet, Johnson was under no illusions that injuries were bound to strike during what could be a near two-month stay in New Zealand.

"It's a fact of life going into any Test week," said Johnson. "It just makes it more difficult - 30 players so far away. But we'll deal with that."

Johnson, who was forced to play some people slightly out of position on Saturday, added: "This is what World Cup week will be like because there are going to be late changes, potentially, and guys may have to fill in, as they did.

"Courtney (Lawes) played six, and Tom (Croft) played seven and James (Haskell) played eight, and did it pretty well."

Johnson is not afraid to do the same in New Zealand, saying: "We trust all 30 and they'll have to play at some point.

"We've got good choices. We can choose slightly different players in positions and go with what we think is appropriate.

"We'll just pick the team, as we always do, that we think's the right one to win the game."


From Belfast Telegraph