England start Itoje and Marler against Ireland

Maro Itoje has been tipped to replace Chris Robshawnham

England head coach Eddie Jones has handed starting places to Saracens second rower Maro Itoje and Harlequins loose-head prop Joe Marler in the Six Nartons team to play Ireland.

The match will be England’s first at Twickenham in this year’s tournament as they have played two away matches to date.

Itoje came off the bench in England’s last outing against Italy but starts this week after Joe Launchbury (Wasps), who was deemed unfit to play.

Meanwhile in the only other change to the team Marler replaces Mako Vunipola (Saracens) who moves to the replacements bench.

Elsewhere Wasps centre Elliot Daly is included as a replacement for the first time. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) also makes the bench having been recalled to the squad.

England head coach Eddie Jones said, “I have been pleased with the attitude the squad have shown during a comprehensive two weeks of training. Everyone is pushing hard to be in contention so there were some tight calls on selection.

“Joe Marler made a big impact off the bench in Rome and will start at loose-head with Mako Vunipola finishing the game. Joe Launchbury is unlucky to miss out through injury; Maro Itoje is selected as a result and we’re pleased for him.

“Elliot Daly has worked hard this week and is now ready for a place in the 23. He can provide cover in several positions in the back line.

“Playing our first game at Twickenham after two away fixtures will be huge for us. We’re determined to put in a strong performance against a clever Irish side who are the benchmark of European rugby.”


15. Mike Brown , 14. Anthony Watson , 13. Jonathan Joseph , 12. Owen Farrell (vc) , 11. Jack Nowell , 10. George Ford , 9. Ben Youngs , 8. Billy Vunipola (vc) , 7. James Haskell, 6. Chris Robshaw , 5. George Kruis , 4. Maro Itoje, 3. Dan Cole , 2. Dylan Hartley (c) , 1. Joe Marler

Replacements : 16. Jamie George , 17. Mako Vunipola , 18. Paul Hill , 19. Courtney Lawes , 20. Jack Clifford , 21. Danny Care , 22. Elliot Daly , 23. Alex Goode

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