Saints star Wood moves to No.8 for Ireland showdown

FLEXIBLE FORWARD - Saints star Tom Wood shifts to No.8 for England's clash with Ireland (Picture: Linda Dawson)
FLEXIBLE FORWARD - Saints star Tom Wood shifts to No.8 for England's clash with Ireland (Picture: Linda Dawson)

Saints star Tom Wood will start at No.8 for England in the Six Nations clash with Ireland on Sunday.

Wood, who started at six in the 38-18 win against Scotland last weekend, moves to eight to cover for injured Gloucester forward Ben Morgan.

There are two other Saints in the squad for the trip to Dublin, with hooker Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes named on the bench

England boss Stuart Lancaster has opted against naming Leicester Tigers’ Manu Tuilagi in the starting 15, instead keeping faith with Billy Twelvetrees and Brad Barritt in the centre.

Lancaster said: “We were pleased with our intent to play against Scotland.

“A lot of the players performed very well and with Manu coming back into the equation it gave us some selection decisions.

“But with the centres playing well last week and Manu still returning to match fitness, having not played for the last four weeks, he and others will give us great options from the bench in what I am sure will be a physical encounter.

“It was good to have Billy Vunipola be able to train with us in the middle of the week but he needs some game time so he and David Strettle will be available for their clubs this weekend.”

England: Goode; Ashton, Barritt, Twelvetrees, Brown; Farrell, B Youngs; Marler, T Youngs, Cole; Launchbury, Parling; Haskell, Robshaw ©, Wood.

Replacements: Hartley, Wilson, Vunipola, Lawes, Waldrom, Care, Flood, Tuilagi.