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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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