Moody dropped from England squad

Lewis Moody has been dropped for England’s Calcutta Cup game against Scotland on Saturday.

The Leicester flanker, who was withdrawn after just 55 minutes of England’s RBS 6 Nations defeat to Ireland, is replaced at openside flanker by Joe Worsley for the trip to Murrayfield.

Worsley, 32, returns to the starting XV for the first time since suffering knee ligament damage in the opening minute of England’s 19-6 defeat to New Zealand in November.

England manager Martin Johnson has made just one other enforced change to the starting XV, with Louis Deacon replacing the injured Simon Shaw in the second row.

Northampton’s versatile lock Courtney Lawes comes onto a reshuffled bench which features a return for hooker Steve Thompson and a first call-up for the uncapped Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs.

The 20-year-old has replaced Paul Hodgson, who he played against on Saturday in Leicester’s 35-19 Guinness Premiership victory over London Irish.

Youngs’ father, Nick, won six caps for England at scrum-half between 1983 and 1984.

Scotland, coached by the former England boss Andy Robinson, return to Murrayfield on the back of a defeat to Italy in Rome and chasing their first victory of the tournament.

But England have lost on each of their last two visits to Murrayfield and Saturday’s game marks the 20-year anniversary of Scotland’s 13-7 Grand Slam-clinching victory.

Worsley is considered the toughest defender in the England set-up and he has been a regular go-to man for Johnson.

But the England boss insisted the selection was not a direct result of Moody’s recent red rose performances, but more about making the right call for this game.

“It was a very tough call. It is not a reflection at all on how Lewis has played,” said Johnson.

“It is more of a reflection on the strength and depth of the players we have in the squad.

“We felt it was the best call to put Joe in the starting team and have Lewis on the bench to make an impact.

“They are two different players. They can both play six and seven. There is not a weakness in Lewis’ game but Joe’s defence is good and his ball-carrying is particularly strong.

“It was the toughest selection we have had as a group. That is not because we lost the last game but the squad we have now puts pressure on players to perform.”

Johnson added that dropping Hodgson from the bench was also a “harsh call” and he confirmed full-back Delon Armitage had passed a fitness test after “training vigorously” yesterday.

Toby Flood was also cleared to take his place on the bench after suffering a blow to the head playing for Leicester.

“Paul Hodgson has been fantastic for us on and off the field. Ben is playing well enough and we feel he deserves a chance,” said Johnson.

“Delon proved his fitness yesterday and trained vigorously. The same with Toby Flood, he has come through well after his injury at the weekend.”

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