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Injuries Rob England's coach of key players.

England head rugby coach Andy Robinson has taken a philosophical approach to the succession of injuries which have badly hampered his Test plans.

World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson, Richard Hill, Phil Vickery and Trevor Woodman will all be missing when England tackle Canada at Twickenham tomorrow week.

Throw retirements and individual form loss into the mix and head coach Robinson is without half the World Cup squad ( 15 players ( which gave British sport one of its greatest moments last November.

Newcastle fly-half Wilkinson's absence ( an upper-arm injury could also rule him out of England's appointments with South Africa and Australia later this month ( means Robinson must unveil a new captain, at least in the short term.

Bath centre Mike Tindall, his club colleague Steve Borthwick and Sale Sharks skipper Jason Robinson are the leading candidates ahead of next Monday's planned announcement.

Robinson will select his starting XV and replacements from a 30-man squad.

Sharks wing Mark Cueto and Leicester scrum-half Harry Ellis are expected to make their international debuts while Gloucester centre Henry Paul and Leicester Prop Graham Rowntree are in line for recalls.

Robinson said: "I am impressed by the quality of players in this group of 30 for the Canada week and each of them will be pushing for a place in the final 22.

"It is disappointing to have the recent injuries, especially players like James Simpson-Daniel who is in fine form, but that is what happens in sport.

"Jonny is responding well to the treatment for his injury. However, I will be announcing a new name as captain for the Canada game next Monday."

England should encounter few problems against the Canadians but Tri-Nations champions South Africa and World Cup runners up Australia will be a different proposition.

Both countries are in action tomorrow ( South Africa face Wales in Cardiff and Australia tackle Scotland at Murrayfield.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 5, 2004
Words:310
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