Owen Farrell starts at fly-half for England against Wales

 

Owen Farrell will start at fly-half for England in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations game against Wales after Charlie Hodgson failed to recover from a finger injury.

Farrell's switch from inside centre has opened the way for Manu Tuilagi to return to the England midfield alongside Brad Barritt, one of four changes from the 19-15 win against Italy two weekends ago.

Scarlets number eight Ben Morgan, Northampton scrum-half Lee Dickson and Leicester lock Geoff Parling will all make their first Test starts for England.

Hodgson, who suffered a cut and sprain to his left index finger in training earlier in the week, was finally ruled out of the match this morning.

Farrell has been preferred at fly-half to Toby Flood, who returns to the England squad on the bench alongside fit-again Northampton lock Courtney Lawes.

 



"Charlie cut his finger in training earlier in the week and needed stitches but it swelled up and there is a sprain there," said England interim coach Stuart Lancaster.

"We assessed him this morning and he cannot grip fully. Owen has trained throughout and knows our patterns and plays so we are fully confident in his ability to run the game from 10.

"We are looking forward to seeing how Brad and Manu gel together in the centre.

"It's been a good start with two wins but we've got real competition for places and Lee, Ben and Geoff deserve an opportunity to start this game."

Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs and Northampton number eight Phil Dowson drop to the bench, but there is no place for Stade Francais lock Tom Palmer, who started England's wins against Scotland and Italy.

Tuilagi's promotion into the starting line-up following Hodgson's injury has led to Harlequins full-back Mike Brown being recalled from club duty to start on the bench.

Dickson has been charged with injecting some energy and tempo at scrum half and Morgan will look to carry England over the advantage line.

Both men made a game-changing impact for England at the Stadio Olimpico, while Parling's lineout qualities have impressed the England management.

"It's been a good start with two wins but we've got real competition for places and Lee, Ben and Geoff deserve an opportunity to start this game," Lancaster said.

"It means that Phil and Ben will provide a different role from the bench and it's great to have Courtney and Toby, who can also give us options in what I am sure will be a full-on encounter.

"It's our first home game of the Six Nations which we are really excited about and we are sure the crowd will get behind us just as the travelling supporters have done in Scotland and Italy.

"Playing at Twickenham makes it extra special for us and I know we will get all the encouragement we need."

England team to play Wales in the RBS 6 Nations championship at Twickenham on Saturday, February 25 (kick-off 1600):

B Foden (Northampton Saints); C Ashton (Northampton Saints), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), B Barritt (Saracens), D Strettle (Saracens); O Farrell (Saracens), L Dickson (Northampton Saints); A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), M Botha (Saracens), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Morgan (Scarlets)

Replacements: R Webber (London Wasps), M Stevens (Saracens), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), P Dowson (Northampton Saints), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers), T Flood (Leicester Tigers), M Brown (Harlequins)

PA

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy