England centre Riki Flutey has been ruled out of Saturday’s RBS Six Nations clash against Wales, with Leicester’s Toby Flood coming in to replace him.
Flutey, 29, suffered a thigh injury in training on Thursday.Flood takes the 12 shirt while Bath’s uncapped rugby league convert Shontayne Hape is promoted to the bench.
“It is a blow because we picked Riki to play but the good thing is that Toby can play Test rugby in two positions,” said England manager Martin Johnson.
“He has played a lot of Test rugby at 12. He played in a World Cup final. He is an experienced Test player now.
“He has a good kicking game, he is very strong defensively, he can carry the ball well and can off-load. He has a good all-round game to play at 10 and 12 at this level.
“Of course you don’t want to lose a guy on a Thursday when you have picked him, but it happens in rugby and we don’t miss a beat.”
New Zealand-born Flutey, who left Wasps for French side Brive after impressing for the British and Irish Lions last summer, had only just returned to the England fold after missing the November Tests.