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Haskell passed fit for England’s final World Cup warm-up with Ireland

| 24.08.2011

What a tie we have in store at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.

The clash between Ireland and England offers both sides a last chance at finding a confidence boost before they head to New Zealand for the World Cup, and boy do both teams need it.

Consecutive defeats to France mean Ireland will need to beat England to prove they have any chance of toppling Australia for the top spot in Pool B, and with home advantage the Irish public will be expecting them too.

Defeat in Wales for England 11 days ago was compounded by their inability to pass the try line despite dominating large periods of the game and Johnson, who has made some surprising decisions on the back of that game, has a lot to prove.

England lacked any creativity in their 19-9 defeat to Wales which is why it’s such a surprise to see Matt Banahan be picked over Riki Flutey in the World Cup squad, and while Chris Ashton will return to the side against Ireland, England cannot afford to rely on one winger.

The good news for Johnson is that Haskell is fit to play following a knock to his foot, and it will be intriguing to see who Johnson prefers at number eight in his favoured XV with Nick Easter also in contention.

With Johnson expected to play the side that is likely to start against Argentina in Invercargill on Spetember 10 (minus Lewis Moody and Ben Youngs), punters can get a good glimpse of what they can expect from England in the World Cup this weekend.

Which is why it’s such an important game for both sides and whoever loses will have just a fortnight to correct mistakes before the World Cup starts.

England are out for revenge following Ireland’s win which ended any Grand Slam hopes, but with Ireland on home soil, they have to be favoured to sneak a win.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.