Worsley straight back in for England

Flanker Joe Worsley and full-back Olly Morgan have been recalled to the England team for the Six Nations clash with Ireland a week on Saturday.

Worsley, the Wasps blind-side, returns to the team in place of Nick Easter after recovering from the neck injury which kept him out of last weekend’s victory over Italy.

Morgan is set to win his second Test cap after being named at full-back in place of his Gloucester team-mate Iain Balshaw, who is not expected to recover from a groin injury in time.

The two changes mean head coach Brian Ashton has reverted back to the same starting XV he named for England’s comprehensive 42-20 opening round victory over Scotland.

Ashton took the unprecedented step of bringing forward his team announcement in the hope his selected players will be rested from Guinness Premiership action this weekend.

England are particularly concerned about the three Sunday games – Bristol v Newcastle, Saracens v Gloucester and Wasps v Sale – which could potentially involve nine of the starting XV just six days before the Croke Park clash.

The clubs are under no contractual obligation to rest players but the RFU’s director of elite rugby Rob Andrew hopes to receive a sympathetic ear when he argues England’s case.

Andrew explained: “We’ve already had an indication that certain players will be rested, possibly benched, and we will look at it on an individual basis and try and release as many of the starting XV as we can.

“The clubs are making huge efforts. Nine of the starting XV against Scotland did not play the previous weekend. So there’s huge effort going on by the clubs and we fully understand their position.”

In his previous position, Andrew was director of rugby at Newcastle and he said: “I do understand the position they are in and we saw it before the Six Nations started.”

Newcastle could play Jonny Wilkinson in their vital Premiership clash with Bristol, as well as Mathew Tait and Toby Flood – both set for the bench in Dublin.

Andrew added: “Over the weekend it’s very likely to be about individual circumstances, how each player and club feel and how they want to deal with it this weekend.

“We won’t get agreement across the board and the clubs are not obligated to give us that.”

England: 15 Olly Morgan (Gloucester), 14 Josh Lewsey (London Wasps), 13 Mike Tindall (Gloucester), 12 Andy Farrell (Saracens), 11 Jason Robinson (Sale Sharks), 10 Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons), 9 Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers), 8 Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers), 7 Magnus Lund (Sale Sharks), 6 Joe Worsley (London Wasps), 5 Danny Grewcock (Bath), 4 Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), 3 Phil Vickery (captain, London Wasps), 2 George Chuter (Leicester Tigers), 1 Perry Freshwater (Perpignan).
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears (Bath), 17 Julian White (Leicester Tigers), 18 Tom Palmer (London Wasps), 19 Tom Rees (London Wasps), 20 Shaun Perry (Bristol), 21 Toby Flood (Newcastle Falcons), 22 Mat Tait (Newcastle Falcons)

Date: Saturday, February 24
Venue: Croke Park, Dublin:
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Officials: tbc

365 Digital

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