England make one change for Ireland and stick with midfield duo


Stuart Lancaster has made just one change to his England side that beat Scotland 38-18 on Saturday, as James Haskell comes in for the injured Ben Morgan to face Ireland in Dublin on Sunday.

Haskell will actually start at blindside flanker, while Tom Wood moves from there to number eight, meaning England will start with the same back row that finished the game against Scotland, with Chris Robshaw as captain and openside.

Lancaster’s biggest selection quandary was in the midfield, where there were some serious calls for the fit again Manu Tuilagi to be promoted straight back into the England starting XV following his awesome display against New Zealand in the autumn.

However Lancaster has stuck true to his principles of consistency of selection and rewarding good performances by sticking with the combination of Billy Twelvetrees and Brad Barritt, following Twelvetrees excellent try scoring debut, Manu Tuilagi’s lack of game time also proved a factor.

Tuilagi is likely to come off the bench as an impact substitute though, where he has replaced David Strettle who returns to his club, along with Billy Vunipola who missed out on a spot on the bench to Thomas Waldrom.

Elsewhere, the front row remains unchanged with Joe Marler, Tom Youngs and Dan Cole all performing well against Scotland. Once again Dylan Hartley has to make do with a place on the bench where Mako Vunipola and David Wilson will join him as front row replacements. Sale Sharks’ Henry Thomas will also travel to Dublin as injury cover.

In the second row Geoff Parling and Joe Launchbury start together again, Courtney Lawes is left to brood on the bench once more as these two develop one of the most potent lock partnerships in the northern hemisphere.

Ben Youngs is selected ahead of Danny Care again despite Care’s try scoring performance off the bench last week, Youngs’ busy performance just tipping the balance in his favour once more.

Owen Farrell starts ahead of Toby Flood after producing probably his best ever performance in an England shirt last week, the back three remains unchanged with Mike Brown, Chris Ashton and Alex Goode looking likely to all complete the 80 minutes unless Tuilagi comes into the game on the wing.

Speaking on the decision to leave Tuilagi on the bench, Stuart Lancaster said:

“A lot of the players performed very well and with Manu coming back into the equation it gave us some selection decisions. But with the centres playing well last week and Manu still returning to match fitness, having not played for the last four weeks, he and others will give us great options from the bench in what I am sure will be a physical encounter.”

England Team to play Ireland 10/2/13:

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. James Haskell 7. Chris Robshaw (c) 8. Tom Wood.

Replacements: 16. Dylan Hartley 17. David Wilson 18. Mako Vunipola 19. Courtney Lawes 20. Thomas Waldrom 21. Danny Care 22. Toby Flood 23. Manu Tuilagi.

For the Ireland team click here.

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