England turn to Corbisiero for run-in after Sheridan blow

ANDREW SHERIDAN will miss the climax of England’s Grand Slam quest after it was confirmed the calf injury he suffered against France will keep him sidelined for at least a month.

The injury-plagued loosehead prop was replaced by Alex Corbisiero just 22 minutes into England’s 17-9 victory last weekend and scans have confirmed a grade two tear.

England, chasing their first RBS 6 Nations clean sweep since 2003, tackle Scotland at Twickenham a week on Saturday and then Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in the last round of the championship.

Sheridan returned to Sale from England’s training camp in Oxford yesterday, leaving Corbisiero in pole position to start the Calcutta Cup showdown with Scotland.

England manager Martin Johnson has no qualms turning to the inexperienced 22-year-old from London Irish after his performances so far in the Six Nations.

Corbisiero made an impressive debut against Italy, after Sheridan had pulled out on the eve of the match with a back problem, and he played for an hour against France.

“When Sheridan was injured for the Italy game it was, in a way, a blessing in disguise,” Johnson said.

“It gave Corbs an opportunity and when he came off the bench last week it wasn’t all new to him.

“He was playing against a world class scrummage and world class players in William Servat and Nicolas Mas and he acquitted himself pretty well.

“He had to really fight and battle. At times they got one on him and at times he got one on them, so he did really well,” he added.

Toby Flood also had to be replaced early against France after injuring his Achilles. England expect him to be fit for the Scotland game but they will take no risks with him in training this week.

As a result, Jonny Wilkinson is set to be retained in camp and not released to play for Toulon in their Top 14 game against Clermont Auvergne on Friday night.

France coach Marc Lievremont has kept faith with the squad which lost to England at Saturday for Les Bleus’ next Six Nations game in Italy on March 12.

Full-back Maxime Medard returns after missing the Twickenham trip with a hamstring problem, so there is no place for Alexis Palisson, while fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc has also been included for the Stadio Flaminio encounter on Saturday week despite suffering a knee injury at the weekend.

FRANCE SQUAD

Forwards: N Mas (Perpignan), T Domingo (Clermont), L Ducalcon (Castres), S Marconnet (Biarritz), W Servat (Toulouse), G Guirado (Perpignan), L Nallet (Racing-Metro), J Pierre (Clermont), J Thion (Biarritz), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), J Bonnaire (Clermont), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), S Chabal (Racing-Metro).

Backs: M Parra (Clermont), D Yachvili (Biarritz), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), A Rougerie (Clermont), V Clerc (Toulouse), Y Huget (Bayonne), M Medard (Toulouse), D Traille (Biarritz), C Poitrenaud (Toulouse).

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