England host Ireland in the last match of the 2012 RBS Six Nations at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 17 March 2012 with kick-off at 17:00 and live on BBC One.
Stuart Lancaster has kept the faith with his selections and so David Strettle returns replacing the unlucky Charlie Sharples. The other change is on the bench where Lee Mears comes in for the injured Rob Webber. One surprise is the speed of recovery for Phil Dowson who was knocked out last week but is fit to sub.
Lancaster who will be hoping another good showing secures him the England job full time said: “It seems like yesterday when we got together in Leeds in January and began a new journey for England rugby,” “Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and myself firmly believe in this group of players and the direction we are going.” “Saturday is another step on that road and we are looking forward to coming home to a packed Twickenham with its special atmosphere and crowd.”
Declan Kidney has brought Sean O’Brien back at the expense of Peter O’Mahony on the flank for Saturdays game the only change form last weeks team.
Of the change Kidney said: “I thought Peter (O’Mahony) played really well and it was an absolutely tight selection call, but Sean has trained well and just got the nod.” “England are improving with every match and have won three games on the road, so they will be looking forward to playing at home again.””They had a fine win in Paris, so that will have given them a lot of confidence.”
We are looking forward to a clash of high octane rugby and although the Irish will cause problems England will hang on again for a narrow win and second place in the table for 2012. A much better conclusion than anyone expected and the launch pad for further success later in the year.
England: Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, David Strettle, Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson, Alex Corbisiero, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Mouritz Botha, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Chris Robshaw (C), Ben Morgan.
Replacements: Lee Mears, Matt Stevens, Tom Palmer, Phil Dowson, Ben Youngs, Charlie Hodgson, Mike Brown.
Ireland: R Kearney; T Bowe, K Earls, G D’Arcy, A Trimble; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D O’Callaghan, D Ryan; S Ferris, S O’Brien, J Heaslip.
Replacements: S Cronin, T Court, M McCarthy, P O’Mahony, T O’Leary, R O’Gara, F McFadden.
Referee : Nigel Owens (Wal)
Touch judges : Jerome Garces (Fra) & Neil Paterson (Sco)
TV : Jim Yuille (Sco)