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Thursday 16 August 2018

England’s Armitage to start on the wing

DELON ARMITAGE will complete a "massive turnaround" to his career when he starts for England in their opening Rugby World Cup game against Argentina on Saturday (KO 9.30am Irish time).

The London Irish full-back was dropped by England at the end of last year’s Six Nations and he missed this year’s title-winning campaign through suspension.

Armitage feared his chequered disciplinary record, which saw him banned last season for abusing an anti-doping official and for punching, would cost him a place at the World Cup in New Zealand.

But England kept the faith, and Armitage’s recent form and an injury to Mark Cueto has earned him a starting berth on the left wing against the Pumas.

“I didn’t even think I’d be |over here so it’s a massive turnaround. If you do the |hard work, the right things, sometimes you get your rewards,” said Armitage.

“I’m happy the way things have gone. When I was told by Martin (Johnson) that I would be starting, he mentioned it was because of the way I’d been training and playing.”

England’s only other change from the Ireland victory is the return of No8 Nick Easter, who had missed the game with a tight calf, and James Haskell will switch to the open-side.

ENGLAND (v Argentina): B Foden; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, M Tindall (capt), D Armitage; J Wilkinson, R Wigglesworth; N Easter, J Haskell, T Croft, C Lawes, L Deacon, D Cole, S Thompson, A Sheridan. Replacements: D Hartley, M Stevens, T Palmer, T Wood, B Youngs, T Flood, M Banahan.

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