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Stuart Lancaster Announces The England Team To Face Ireland

Stuart Lancaster Announces The England Team To Face Ireland
By Conor O'Leary Updated

Stuart Lancaster has made two changes to the starting lineup for the England team to face Ireland in Lansdowne Road on Sunday. Alex Goode comes in as a direct replacement for concussion victim Mike Brown, while Jonny May has suffered for his below par performances and is replaced by flying Exeter Chiefs utility back Jack Nowell.

The only other change to the 23 is Henry Thomas coming in for former Ireland U20 prop Kieran Brookes on the bench.

There are only six members of the England starting XV that played in the corresponding fixture last year due to the number of injuries that England have suffered. Joe Marler will renew his battle with Mike Ross in the front row in an area that England will look to assert dominance.

Injuries to Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes means that Ireland will be looking to dominate the relatively inexperienced George Kruis and Dave Attwood at the lineout, while the experience game is most stark at halfbacks as Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray will face up against the promising but inexperienced George Ford and Ben Youngs.

Jack Nowell comes back to face Ireland for the second year in a row, and is joined by Alex Goode and Anthony Watson in the back three. Goode returns to Dublin two years after he helped England beat Ireland 12-6 in horrible conditions. That back three are likely to be targeted through the kicking of Sexton and Murray.

Jonathan Joseph has been England's inspiration this championship, and will prove a tricky test for Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne. This is the first test this championship that Ireland's centre partnership will be the more "experienced" pairing, with one extra game together compared to Burrell and Joseph.

England Team To Face Ireland

15. Alex Goode
14. Anthony Watson
13. Jonathan Joseph
12. Luther Burrell
11. Jack Nowell
10. George Ford
9. Ben Youngs
1. Joe Marler
2. Dylan Hartley
3. Dan Cole
4. Dave Attwood
5. George Kruis
6. James Haskell
7. Chris Robshaw (c)
8. Billy Vunipola

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Replacements:
16. Tom Youngs
17. Mako Vunipola
18. Nick Easter
19. Tom Croft
20. Tom Wood
21. Richard Wigglesworth
22. Danny Ciprani
23. Billy Twelvetrees

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