Dublin - Billy Twelvetrees has retained his
place in the England side that will face Ireland in the Six Nations in
Dublin on Sunday after seeing off a challenge from Manu Tuilagi.
only change to the team that started the tournament-opening 38-18 win
over Scotland last week was the return of James Haskell at blindside
flanker in a back-row that had to be revamped by England head coach
Stuart Lancaster after No 8 Ben Morgan suffered an ankle injury at
Gloucester centre Twelvetrees made a try-scoring Test
debut last Saturday after replacing the then-injured Tuilagi, who
missed the Calcutta Cup clash with an ankle problem.
Tuilagi now fit and England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive
Woodward among those saying he should start against Ireland, there was
intense speculation about how Lancaster would resolve his midfield
Friday saw Lancaster stand by the ball-playing
Twelvetrees and defensive rock Brad Barritt as his starting centre
combination, with the powerful Tuilagi poised to make an impact off the
For Haskell, Sunday's match will be his first Six Nations
start in nearly two years, with Tom Morgan moving across the back-row to
take Morgan's place at No 8 and England captain Chris Robshaw still at
Haskell's last Six Nations start was also in
Dublin, when England won the title but saw their 2011 Grand Slam
ambitions obliterated with a 24-8 defeat by Ireland at Lansdowne Road.
27-year-old missed last season's Championship in order to play club
rugby in Japan but has since returned to Premiership side Wasps and
re-established himself in the England set-up.
Ireland, who also
started this Six Nations with a victory by beating defending Grand Slam
champions Wales 30-22 in Cardiff last week, were due to announce their
side later Friday.
England have not won a Six Nations match in Dublin since 2003, which was also the last year they completed a Grand Slam.
15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Billy
Twelvetrees, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Wood,
7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 James Haskell, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe
Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler
Substitutes: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Dave Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes,
20 Thomas Waldron, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Manu Tuilagi