England have named a frighteningly good team to play Ireland on Saturday

ENGLAND HEAD COACH Stuart Lancaster is taking a major gamble for this weekend’s meeting with Ireland at Twickenham, by naming close to a full-strength team for Saturday’s clash.

With their World Cup opener against Fiji just under two weeks away, Lancaster has named a strong squad to host Joe Schmidt’s side, in their last warm-up game before the September 18 kick-off.

Lancaster has made four changes to the side that disappointed in a 25-20 defeat to France last time out, with Anthony Watson and Brad Barritt and Jack Nowell and Luther Burrell, while in the pack, James Haskell and Billy Vunipola are replaced by Tom Wood and Ben Morgan at number eight.

It’s looking like a first-choice front row, with Joe Marler, Tom Youngs and Dan Cole starting, while Courtney Lawes and Geoff Parling will pack down behind them.

Wood and Morgan come into the back row, with captain Chris Robshaw continuing at openside.

Ben Youngs and George Ford start in the half-backs, with Barritt and Jonathan Joseph teaming up in the centre, while Jonny May, Anthony Watson and Mike Brown resemble the likely first choice back three for the tournament.

There is also considerable talent on the bench, with Billy Vunipola, Joe Launchbury and Owen Farrell all among the replacements.

England (v Ireland)

15. Mike Brown

14. Anthony Watson

13. Jonathan Joseph

12. Brad Barritt

11. Jonny May

10. George Ford

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9. Ben Youngs


1. Joe Marler

2. Tom Youngs

3. Dan Cole

4. Courtney Lawes

5. Geoff Parling

6, Tom Wood

7. Chris Robshaw (capt)

8. Ben Morgan


16. Jamie George

17. Mako Vunipola

18. Kieran Brookes

19. Joe Launchbury

20. Billy Vunipola

21. Richard Wigglesworth

22. Owen Farrell

23. Sam Burgess

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