Saints centre Burrell misses out as Hartley and Foden are recalled by England
Dylan Hartley and Ben Foden have both been recalled by England for Saturday’s QBE International against Argentina at Twickenham - but there is no place in the matchday 23 for centre Luther Burrell.
A total of five Saints are in the starting line-up to take on the Pumas, with Hartley and Foden, who will play on the left wing, joining the trio of Lee Dickson, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood, who all played in last weekend’s 20-13 win over Australia.
Alex Corbisiero has also been declared fit, and takes his place on the replacements’ bench, but Burrell has missed out on selection after being retained in a squad of 27 earlier this week.
Foden will not play in his usual full-back role, instead playing on the left wing as both Marland Yarde and Christian Wade were ruled out through injury.
Yarde has a hip complaint and Wade has incurred a hamstring injury.
“Christian was in contention for a start but his hamstring tightened up in training and unfortunately he hasn’t recovered sufficiently in time to be considered,” said coach Stuart Lancaster.
“Marland this morning failed a fitness test on a hip injury sustained last weekend so Ben Foden gets his chance with Alex Goode on the bench.
“Ben has had a full week’s training on the wing, he is a great finisher and in form so it’s a great option for us.”
Hartley comes in for Tom Youngs at hooker, while Corbisiero returns to the 23 after overcoming a knee problem, although he was expected to start the second match of England’s autumn series instead of Joe Marler, who got the nod instead.
Foden fills the left wing slot despite his limited experience in the position with Alex Goode offering back three cover from the bench, which also sees the return of Geoff Parling from mild concussion.
The centre partnership of Billy Twelvetrees and Joel Tomkins remains intact despite a disappointing performance in the autumn opener against Australia.
The biggest surprise, however, is Lancaster’s decision to start Marler ahead of Corbisiero against a team that views the scrum as a key weapon.
Corbisiero demolished the Wallabies’ set-piece when playing for the British and Irish Lions last summer, although his recent return to fitness may have influenced Lancaster’s thinking.
“Joe Marler was excellent off the bench against Australia and merits his opportunity, as does David Wilson, who has been pushing hard for selection,” Lancaster said.
“Dylan gets a deserved chance at hooker with Tom Youngs on the bench after the safe arrival of his first child this morning. Rob Webber remains on standby.”
England opened a three-match autumn series that concludes against New Zealand on Saturday week with victory over Australia, but the performance left much to be desired.
“The Twickenham crowd was superb against Australia and we were pleased to get the victory, but we know there’s more to come from this team and we are looking forward to building on that momentum for this weekend,” Lancaster said.
England team for QBE International against Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday November 9, 2.30pm: M Brown (Harlequins); C Ashton (Saracens), J Tomkins (Saracens), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), B Foden (Northampton); O Farrell (Saracens), L Dickson (Northampton Saints); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Wilson (Bath Rugby), J Launchbury (London Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), T Wood (Northampton Saints), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Vunipola (Saracens).
Replacements: T Youngs (Leicester Tigers), A Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), B Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers), T Flood (Leicester Tigers), A Goode (Saracens).