Six Nations

Morgan in for Vunipola

2014-03-07 12:02
Ben Morgan (Getty Images)

London - Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan was the one injury-enforced change to England's starting line-up announced by coach Stuart Lancaster on Friday for their Six Nations international against Wales at Twickenham this weekend.

Morgan replaces Billy Vunipola, the man he came on for during England's 13-10 win over Ireland at Twickenham last time out, after his fellow back-row forward was ruled out of the final two rounds of the Six Nations with an ankle injury.

Tom Johnson of Exeter has taken Morgan's place on the bench for Sunday's clash.

"Ben has made an impact off the bench in the previous games," Lancaster said. "He has been pushing hard for the number eight shirt and now gets his opportunity, so we are looking forward to seeing him from the start.

"Tom has been outstanding for Exeter and gives us options off the bench as he has played in all three back-row positions for his club."

Dynamic centre Manu Tuilagi recently returned to club action following six months out with a chest injury but his lack of recent game time meant he was always a long shot to be included for England duty against Wales.

Lancaster, yet to record a win as England boss over two-time defending Six Nations champions Wales, has named a starting XV featuring six survivors from the side that saw dreams of a Grand Slam obliterated in the final round of last season's Championship by a 30-3 defeat in Cardiff.

Wales are now bidding for an unprecedented third successive outright Six Nations title and Sunday's fixture has been given added spice by the fact it will be the final time they come to Twickenham before playing England at 'headquarters' in the pool phase of the 2015 World Cup.

"We can't wait to play at home again," Lancaster said.

"The players have said that the atmosphere at Twickenham for the Ireland game was the best they had experienced and I'm sure it will be the same again on Sunday.

"It definitely gives us an extra lift and that's what we want against another experienced, high-quality side, who are looking to defend their title."

England and Wales are two of the four teams, together with Ireland and France, who are currently locked in a four-way tie at the top of the Six Nations standings.

However, Ireland have a massive points difference advantage, of +42 compared to England's +21, Wales' +6 and France's +1.

And defeat for either England or Wales this weekend would effectively end their title ambitions heading into next week's final round of the Championship.

Teams:

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 David Wilson, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.

Substitutes: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 George Ford, 23 Alex Goode

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Gethin Jenkins

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Liam Williams

Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  rugby
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