Wood in as injury rules Fourie out of England's Six Nations opener

NORTHAMPTON flanker Tom Wood will make his England debut in Friday night's RBS Six Nations clash with Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

Wood was not included in Martin Johnson's original 33-man squad but he has been promoted from the Saxons straight into the starting XV after injuries forced England to reshuffle their pack.

Lewis Moody, Tom Croft and Leeds Carnegie's Hendre Fourie are all missing from the back row while Northampton lock Courtney Lawes is in danger of being sidelined for the whole championship with a knee injury.

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Fourie injured his calf on Leeds duty 10 days ago and has not receovered in time.

With Moody out, Otley-born Mike Tindall has been appointed England captain for the first time.

Wood, 24, will pack down at blindside flanker and offer England a back-row lineout option in Croft's absence, while James Haskell will start in the less familiar role on the openside.

Leicester lock Louis Deacon returns in the second row to partner Tom Palmer in place of Lawes.

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Wood is in his first year with Heineken Cup quarter-finalists Northampton after three seasons at Worcester.

He was born in Coventry and played for the Barkers' Butts club, which lists Danny Grewcock and Neil Back among its international alumni.

Wood graduated through the Worcester academy and overcame a broken leg with a successful spell in New Zealand before forcing his way into the Warriors first team in the 2007-08 season.

The athletic 6ft 5in, 16st 7lb flanker broke into the Saxons squad this time last year and, after making an immediate impression at Franklin's Gardens, he is now in line for his Test debut in Cardiff.

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Wood will don the six jersey. Haskell is traditionally a blindside but his breakdown and turnover work has been one of the big improvements in his game since moving to Stade Francais.

England: B Foden (Northampton Saints); C Ashton (Northampton Saints), M Tindall (Gloucester, capt), S Hape (Bath), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Wood (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (Stade Francais), N Easter (Harlequins).

Replacements: S Thompson (Leeds Carnegie), D Wilson (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), J Worsley (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), J Wilkinson (Toulon), M Banahan (Bath).