Friday, 8 March 2013

Flood to face Italians

Stuart Lancaster makes 5 changes to his England side for the challenge of Italy this Sunday, naming 7 Tigers in the 23.  Tigers' Toby Flood is restored to the line up after Owen Farrell failed to recover from a leg injury suffered in the France test match, while his clubmate Ben Youngs drops to the bench in favour of Stuart Lancaster's favourite Danny Care.  Given that Youngs and Flood are one of the most feared half back partnerships in world Rugby it seems bizarre to go with the Yorkshireman, especially given Youngs's outstanding form.

Manu Tuilagi earns his 20th cap at the age of only 21 in the midfield whilst Tigers also have 3 players named in the forward pack.  Tom Youngs is restored to the starting line up after being dropped for the France match, whilst I'm happy for the bulldozing Youngs I wonder what Lancaster expected from Hartley in his 50 minutes against the French.  Dan Cole and Geoff Parling continue their ever present 6 Nations in the front and second row respectively.

Returning to International Rugby after almost a year's absence with injury is flanker Tom Croft.  Croft was in world class form last weekend against Sale and his return to the fold is thoroughly deserved.

England Team to face Italy
15. Alex Goode (Saracens, 9 caps)
14. Chris Ashton (Saracens, 32 caps)

13. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps)
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 14 caps)
11. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 14 caps)

10. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)
9. Danny Care (Harlequins, 39 caps)

1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 7 caps)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 38 caps)
4. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 7 caps)

5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 15 caps)
6. James Haskell (London Wasps, 48 caps)
7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 15 caps)
8. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 16 caps)

16. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 45 caps)
17. David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 24 caps) 
18. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 8 caps) 
19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 18 caps)
20. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers, 36 caps) 
21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps) 
22. Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
23. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 2 caps)

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