Six Nations: Lancaster makes four changes for England clash with Wales

Stuart Lancaster
Stuart Lancaster

HEAD coach Stuart Lancaster has made four changes to the England team that will host Wales in Saturday’s RBS Six Nations clash at Twickenham Stadium.

Northampton Saints’ Lee Dickson, Scarlets’ Ben Morgan and Leicester Tigers’ Geoff Parling will all start their first tests at the home of English rugby after coming off the bench in the victories over Scotland and Italy.

In addition, Owen Farrell will move to number 10 in place of Charlie Hodgson, who has not recovered from an injury to his left index finger, with Tigers’ Manusamoa Tuilagi coming in at centre.

Courtney Lawes and Toby Flood make their first appearances of the campaign on the bench.

Lancaster said: “It’s been a good start with two wins but we’ve got real competition for places and Lee, Ben and Geoff deserve an opportunity to start this game.

“It means that Phil [Dowson] and Ben [Youngs] will provide a different role from the bench and it’s great to have Courtney and Toby, who can also give us options in what I am sure will be a full-on encounter.

“Charlie cut his finger in training earlier in the week and needed stitches but it swelled up and there is a sprain there.

“We assessed him this morning and he cannot grip fully. Owen has trained throughout and knows our patterns and plays so we are fully confident in his ability to run the game from 10 and we are looking forward to seeing how Brad and Manu gel together in the centre.

“It’s our first home game, which we are really excited about and we are sure the crowd will get behind us just as the travelling supporters have done in Scotland and Italy.

“Playing at Twickenham makes it extra special for us and I know we will get all the encouragement we need.”

England squad: 15 Ben Foden (Northampton), 14 Chris Ashton (Northampton), 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester), 12 Brad Barritt (Saracens), 11 David Strettle (Saracens), 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens), 9 Lee Dickson (Northampton), 1 Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), 2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton), 3 Dan Cole (Leicester), 4 Mouritz Botha (Saracens), 5 Geoff Parling (Leicester), 6 Tom Croft (Leicester), 7 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), 8 Ben Morgan (Scarlets). Replacements: 16 Rob Webber (Wasps), 17 Matt Stevens (Saracens), 18 Courtney Lawes (Northampton), 19 Phil Dowson (Northampton), 20 Ben Youngs (Leicester), 21 Toby Flood (Leicester), 22 Mike Brown (Harlequins).

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