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Old foes meet in first quarter-final!
« on: October 06, 2007, 10:08:25 AM »

Old foes meet in first quarter-final

Second chance: England's Mike Catt is back in the starting XV

MARSEILLE, 5 October - England's veteran centre Mike Catt says coach Brian Ashton had little choice but turn to him for Saturday's blockbuster quarter-final against Australia after Andy Farrell injured his calf.

Catt, who was not initially named in the match-22, has been selected with both Farrell and Olly Barkley (dead-leg) lost to injury.

Ashton said he would have made the same decision even if Barkley wasn't overcoming a dead-leg.

"Mike Catt would have played even if Olly Barkley had been fit," he said.

Having been dropped after the 36-0 defeat by South Africa in England's second pool match, Catt is relieved to be given another opportunity at RWC 2007.

"It's another chance I suppose. He (coach Brian Ashton, ENG) didn't have a choice, he had to pick me. I really enjoy it. It's been pretty disappointing, personally, over the last four weeks. It's another chance to get out there and get back on form."

Returning captain

Prop Phil Vickery returns to the starting line-up for the first time since the 28-10 opening pool win over USA and the two-match suspension that ruled him out against South Africa and Samoa.

Vickery replaces Matt Stevens in the front row and reclaims the captaincy off flanker Martin Corry. Alongside him will be Mark Regan, who replaces George Chuter at hooker.

Vickery is not dwelling on past glories.

"It is a world cup quarter-final and will take a huge effort. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past, all that matters is the game tomorrow."

There is a return to the starting line-up for full back Jason Robinson, who was carried off against South Africa with a strained hamstring.

He is one of five survivors from the RWC 2003 final, in which he scored England's only try.

Mortlock: I'm 99 per cent

Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock returns to the team for the first time since their second pool match, the 32-20 defeat of Wales.

He has struggled with a shoulder injury but appears to be close to full strength.

"I did some damage three weeks ago, so it's probably 99 per cent realistically. I don't think it'll get up to 100 per cent. This is as good as it gets, but I've got a lot of confidence in it."

With only fly half Stephen Larkham and centre Scott Staniforth absent due to injury, coach John Connolly's major concern appears to be the weather and design of Stade Velodrome.

"There's 25 per cent chance of rain. It's a fairly open stadium and it could be a factor. We don't play in a lot of open stadiums in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. England are confident in these situations because they're used to open stadiums," Connolly said.

Adam Ashley-Cooper replaces Drew Mitchell on the wing, even though Mitchell is the tournament's leading try scorer with seven.

The match kicks off at 15:00 CET

RNS ji/gs
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