Twelvetrees starts for England as Lancaster names his side


Billy Twelvetrees will earn his first England cap against Scotland on Saturday after he was named in Stuart Lancaster’s side this morning.

The Gloucester centre will start at inside centre and is one of just two changes to the side that beat New Zealand 38-21 in the QBE autumn Internationals.

Joe Marler is the other change, he comes in for the injured Alex Corbisiero, Mako Vunipola remains on the bench. The only other alteration sees Brad Barritt switch from 12 to 13 to accommodate Twelvetrees in the absence of Manu Tuilagi.

Tom Youngs retains his place at hooker after impressing in the autumn, that is despite the return of Dylan Hartley who is on the bench despite having captained England the last time he appeared for them, the 14-14 draw with South Africa in the summer.

Joe Launchbury retains his place ahead of the returning Courtney Lawes after showing excellent form in the autumn, while Mike Brown will again be on the left wing, with David Strettle on the bench.

At half back Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell have won the battle over Danny Care and Toby Flood, Flood and Care are both on the bench, with scrum half described as Lancaster’s ‘toughest call’.

James Haskell will cover the back row from the bench, Morgan Wood and Robshaw remain the first choice after dominating the New Zealand game.

David Wilson cements his place as back up to Dan Cole with a seat on the bench, whilst one game for Saracens was enough for Alex Goode to prove he is fit enough to start at full back.

Speaking about the continuity from the New Zealand game and the strength of his replacements, Lancaster said:

“We are happy to stick with the team that did so well against New Zealand, especially in light of the fact that they have all been in good form for their clubs since then.

“There were some very tight calls, with some experienced players coming back into contention, and I am sure the bench will have a significant impact on the game.

The England side is one of the most inexperience ever assembled, with just 191 caps in the starting line-up, with 92 of those coming from Chris Ashton, Ben Youngs and Dan Cole.

Cole is the most experienced player in the side with 35 caps, however the bench is loaded with experience, in particular from Toby Flood with 53 caps. With 230 caps on the bench, England will be looking to use all of that experience to close the game out should it become a tight encounter.

Scotland named their side earlier in the week with interim head coach Scott Johnson selecting winger Sean Maitland to make his debut. He makes up part of an exciting back three that also includes Stuart Hogg and Tim Visser.

Sean Lamont moved into the centres to accommodate Maitland, leaving Max Evans on the bench, and is joined there by Matt Scott. Greig Laidlaw moves from 10 to 9 following the retirement of Mike Blair, with Ruaraidh Jackson filling his boots at fly half.

Kelly Brown captains Scotland from number 7 with Johnnie Beattie returning at number 8. Alasdair Strokosch completes the back row with David Denton having to settle for a place on the bench.

Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton join forces in the second row, whilst Dougie Hall ousts Ross Ford at hooker for the first time in six years. Euan Murray and Ryan Grant are the props.

The game kicks off at 4pm following Wales v Ireland. Angus Savage will be there for Fifteen Rugby, tweeting live updates & thoughts throughout the game on @FifteenRugbyXV

England XV:

15. Alex Goode 14. Chris Ashton 13. Brad Barritt 12. Billy Twelvetrees 11. Mike Brown 10. Owen Farrell 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Joe Marler 2. Tom Youngs 3. Dan Cole 4. Joe Launchbury 5. Geoff Parling 6. Tom Wood 7. Chris Robshaw (captain) 8. Ben Morgan.

Replacements: 16. Dylan Hartley 17. David Wilson 18. Mako Vunipola 19. Courtney Lawes 20. James Haskell 21. Danny Care 22. Toby Flood 23. David Strettle.

Scotland XV:

15. Stuart Hogg 14. Sean Maitland 13. Sean Lamont 12. Matt Scott 11. Tim Visser 10. Ruaraidh Jackson 9. Greig Laidlaw; 1. Ryan Grant 2. Dougie Hall 3. Euan Murray 4. Richie Gray 5. Jim Hamilton 6. Alasdair Strokosch 7. Kelly Brown (captain) 8. Johnnie Beattie.

Replacements: 16. Ross Ford 17. Moray Low 18. Geoff Cross 19. Alastair Kellock 20. David Denton 21. Henry Pyrgos 22. Duncan Weir 22. Max Evans.

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