Johnson will face France - report


Martin Johnson will lead England in their Six Nations showdown against France next week after appealing his ban for punching, it was reported today.

The Sunday Timessaid only a "complete about-turn" by England coach Clive Woodward would prevent Johnson from playing in what is being billed as a Grand Slam decider at the Stade de France.

The report said the appeal being lodged against Johnson's suspension was unlikely to be heard this week because all parties in the case would not have time to prepare their arguments.

An unnamed senior England Rugby Football Union official was quoted by the paper as saying there was 'next to no chance' of the hearing taking place before next weekend.

So with Johnson's ban on hold until the outcome of the appeal, the way is now clear for the lock forward to face the French.

Woodward has already hinted he would choose Johnson if he were available for selection.

Meanwhile Johnson told the paper he hoped to have drawn a line under the affair by Monday.

"Matters will be sorted out within the next 24 hours by Leicester and by the England camp. Players don’t want to be involved in this sort of thing," Johnson said.

Johnson was banned retrospectively by a hearing on Thursday after punching Saracens international Robbie Russell in match earlier in the month.