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Johnson names strong England side


Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson

England manager Martin Johnson has reverted to his strongest line-up for Saturday's Investec Test against South Africa.

After making four changes for last week's 26-13 win against Samoa, Johnson has named the same starting XV that laid the foundations for England's record victory over Australia.

Lewis Moody returns to captain the team from openside flanker and Mike Tindall reclaims his place at outside centre from Matt Banahan, who has been included on the bench.

The Leicester pair of flanker Tom Croft and tighthead prop Dan Cole also return to the starting team as England look to end an encouraging autumn series with victory over the world champions.

The only change to the 22-man squad from the 35-18 victory over the Wallabies is the inclusion of Banahan for Delon Armitage among the replacements.

Hendre Fourie has held off the challenge from James Haskell to provide the back-row cover in what will be a special occasion for the South Africa-born flanker.

Johnson has kept changes to a minimum since the summer tour of Australia, when the likes of Cole, Courtney Lawes, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Ben Youngs announced their arrival on the Test scene.

England will have only used 24 players in their autumn Tests against the Tri Nations giants New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

England team to play South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday, November 27; kick-off 2.30pm: B Foden (Northampton); C Ashton (Northampton), M Tindall (Gloucester), S Hape (Bath), M Cueto (Sale); T Flood (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); A Sheridan (Sale), D Hartley (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Croft (Leicester), L Moody (Bath, capt), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: S Thompson (Leeds), D Wilson (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), H Fourie (Leeds), D Care (Harlequins), C Hodgson (Sale), M Banahan (Bath).