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England Picks Tindall; McCaw, Carter Return: Cup Roundup

The following is a roundup of stories from the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Tindall Recall

England recalled Mike Tindall and Jonny Wilkinson for the Pool B match against Romania in two days.

Tindall, who was rested for the win against Georgia on Sept. 18, was chosen at inside center in one of seven changes to the starting lineup. Mark Cueto will make his first appearance of the World Cup on the wing after recovering from a back injury, while 2003 World Cup-winning fly-half Wilkinson takes over from Toby Flood.

Hooker Steve Thompson, loosehead prop Alex Corbisiero, second-rower Louis Deacon and flanker Tom Croft all come into the starting lineup. James Haskell continues at No. 8 in the injury enforced absence of Nick Easter.

McCaw, Carter Return

New Zealand made four changes to its starting lineup for the Pool A match against France in two days.

Captain Richie McCaw was recalled for his 100th Test match after missing last week’s 83-7 win over Japan because of a calf strain. With Kieran Read still injured, Adam Thomson moves to No. 8 with McCaw replacing him at openside flanker.

Dan Carter recovered from a back strain to take his place at fly-half, while Piri Weepu was chosen as the All Blacks’ third different starting scrum-half at the tournament. Selectors picked Israel Dagg to replace Isaia Toeava at full-back over Mils Muliaina even though the veteran of 98 Tests is fit.

“It was a selection based on form at this particular moment in time,” All Blacks coach Graham Henry said in a news conference. “It’s difficult for Mils, he’s been a high quality player for a long time for the All Blacks.”

Italy Withdrawal

Tommaso D’Apice withdrew from Italy’s squad after a scan today showed the hooker damaged left knee ligaments playing against Russia two days ago and would need three weeks’ rest.

“I am extremely sad to be leaving the World Cup,” D’Apice said in comments distributed by tournament organizers. “We agreed that the right thing was for me to return to Italy.”

Italy must wait for tournament doctors to verify his injury before they can replace him. Italy faces the U.S. on Sept. 27 before closing pool play against Ireland Oct. 2

Scottish Shuffle

Scotland coach Andy Robinson left squad skipper Alastair Kellock out of his team for the Pool B match against Argentina on Sept. 25. Scrum-half Rory Lawson retained the captaincy as Robinson made five changes to the team that beat Georgia 15-6.

Geoff Cross replaces Euan Murray at prop, second row Richie Gray comes in for Nathan Hines and John Barclay replaces Ross Rennie at openside flanker. In the backs, Dan Parks makes way for Ruaridh Jackson at fly-half and full-back Chris Paterson takes over from Rory Lamont.

“We looked at picking a team to beat Argentina. That was the sole focus,” Robinson said in comments distributed by tournament organizers. “This is phase two of our operation in this World Cup and we’ve got two games to win.”

A victory in Wellington would mark the first time since the 1989-90 Grand Slam-winning season that Scotland won six straight matches.

Romania Record

Four players from the Romania team that lost 43-8 to Argentina will start against England in Dunedin.

The 11 changes to the starting lineup are a record for Romania at a World Cup, beating the previous mark of eight.

Second-rower Cristian Petre is only player to retain his position, while Ovidiu Tonita, Iulian Dumitras and Ionel Cazan were shifted to other roles.

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