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Farrell, Tuilagi recalled as England make four changes for Ireland

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick has reacted to last weekend’s humiliating home loss to France by naming a team to take on title-chasing Ireland in Dublin that shows four changes, including recalls for Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi.


The new head coach’s reign was severely dented by their embarrassing 53-10 Guinness Six Nations round four Twickenham battering and he will look to rectify the damage at Aviva Stadium with an XV that includes call-ups for skipper Farrell and Tuilagi as well as a first start for Henry Arundell and just the second for David Ribbans.

Farrell was benched for last weekend’s match with Marcus Smith at No10, but those roles have now been reversed. Tuliagi is also back following his recent suspension and he takes the inside centre role vacated by the injured Ollie Lawrence.

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With Henry Slade outside that duo at 13, it means the Farrell, Tuilagi and Slade combination will start a match for England for the first time since the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over Australia.

There is one final alteration to the backline, Arundell replacing Max Malins in a selection that will see Anthony Watson swap from the left wing to the right.


Up front, the changes have been limited to just one with Borthwick naming Ribbans at lock to replace Ollie Chessum, who injured an ankle at training on Tuesday. There was speculation that a back row rejig would see Alex Dombrandt lose his place at No8 but that proved unfounded and he will pack down as a unit with Lewis Ludlam and Jack Willis for the fourth successive match.

On the bench, Nick Isiekwe will fill the spot left by the promoted Ribbans while Joe Marchant takes over from the promoted Arundell. Sub Dan Cole, meanwhile, is in line to make his 100th appearance for England.


Borthwick said: “We travel to Dublin to face an Ireland team on Saturday that has the chance to secure a Grand Slam championship victory. We know that after the bitter disappointment of the display against an exceptional France team last week, we will have to be much improved to meet the challenge of playing the side presently ranked number one in the world.

“However, I have witnessed an England squad determined to make amends for the defeat at Twickenham, and I am confident that the team announced today will once again want to show the sort of resilience and attitude that brought us victory in Wales.”

England team (vs Ireland, Saturday – 5:0)
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 21 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 54 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 55 caps)
12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 50 caps)
11. Henry Arundell (London Irish, 6 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 105 caps)
9. Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 11 caps)
1. Ellis Genge (VC) (Bristol Bears, 47 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 76 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 60 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 66 caps)
5. David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
6. Lewis Ludlam (VC) (Northampton Saints, 18 caps)
7. Jack Willis (Toulouse, 9 caps)
8. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 13 caps)

16. Jack Walker (Harlequins, 3 caps)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 78 caps)
18. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 99 caps)
19. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 10 caps)
20. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 4 caps)
21. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 21 caps)
23. Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 14 caps)


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Alan 491 days ago

Keeping the score line respectable is all they can expect.

Pienaar 491 days ago

Sorry to say, England doesn't have a forward pack to compete with the Top Rugby Nations.

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Shaylen 3 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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Jon 8 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

31 Go to comments
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