Dickson gets his full England debut

England's Lee Dickson during a press conference at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 15, 2012. See PA story RUGBYU England. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information. No book use without prior permission.
England's Lee Dickson during a press conference at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 15, 2012. See PA story RUGBYU England. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information. No book use without prior permission.

Northampton Saints scrum-half Lee Dickson has been awarded his first England start.

Dickson will wear the number nine shirt in England’s clash with Wales at Twickenham.

However, his club-mate Phil Dowson has been dropped to the bench.

Saints are also represented in the starting line-up by Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Dylan Hartley while Courtney Lawes joins Dowson among the replacements.

Dickson will partner Owen Farrell at half-back 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 No.8 Ben Morgan, 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.”