Lewis Moody’s hopes of captaining England against France at Twickenham on Saturday have been wrecked by a recurrence of his knee injury.
The Bath flanker missed England’s opening RBS 6 Nations victories against Wales and Italy after being sidelined for five weeks with ligament damage.
Moody had always targeted the France game and he returned to action last weekend with a 23-minute cameo off the bench against Northampton.
But Moody, capped 66 times by England, is not fit enough to feature in Martin Johnson’s 22-man squad for Saturday’s pivotal showdown at Twickenham.
England make one change from the side that started the 59-13 rout of Italy, with Andrew Sheridan returning at loose-head prop after recovering from a back problem.
Alex Corbisiero, who made his Test debut against the Azzurri as a last-minute replacement for Sheridan, moves to the bench in place of the injured David Wilson.
With Moody still out, Mike Tindall retains the captaincy as the two remaining unbeaten teams in the championship lock horns at Twickenham with a potential Grand Slam on the line.
B Foden (Northampton Saints); C Ashton (Northampton Saints), M Tindall (Gloucester Rugby, capt), S Hape (Bath Rugby), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); A Sheridan (Sale Sharks), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Wood (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (Stade Francais), N Easter (Harlequins).
Replacements: S Thompson (Leeds Carnegie), A Corbisiero (London Irish), S Shaw (London Wasps), H Fourie (Leeds Carnegie), D Care (Harlequins), J Wilkinson (Toulon), M Banahan (Bath Rugby).