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Tindall returns to England line-up

Mike Tindall has been recalled to the England team for Saturday's Rugby World Cup Pool B clash with Romania at the Otago Stadium.

Tindall has been at the centre of controversy since joining a group of team-mates on a night out drinking in Queenstown, two days after captaining England to a 13-9 victory over Argentina.

The Gloucester centre was rested for last Sunday's 41-10 victory over Georgia but is back to start in an England team featuring seven changes. Mark Cueto will make his first appearance of the World Cup on the wing after recovering from a back injury, while Jonny Wilkinson takes over from Toby Flood at fly-half.

Hooker Steve Thompson, loosehead prop Alex Corbisiero, lock Louis Deacon and flanker Tom Croft all come into the starting XV while James Haskell continues at number eight in the injury-enforced absence of Nick Easter.

England manager Martin Johnson is also without the suspended lock Courtney Lawes, while prop Matt Stevens has been struggling with an ankle injury.

Johnson has named what appears to be his strongest available team, which sees Tindall and Manu Tuilagi reunited in the centre.

Tindall has been at the centre of a media storm since closed circuit television pictures from Queenstown's Altitude Bar were released, appearing to show him in conversation with a woman.

A source close to Tindall and his new wife Zara Phillips, the Queen's grand-daughter, has said the woman is an old friend of the couple. Phillips has flown out to New Zealand and is understood to be heading to Dunedin in time for the match.

Tindall has also been in the spotlight on the sports pages after Saracens technical director Brendan Venter labelled him "the personification of everything that is wrong with England's attack".

Venter wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "He poses no threat with the ball in hand, he doesn't have a passing game and he has lost so much of the pace he used to have."


From Belfast Telegraph