England centre Billy Twelvetrees gets the nod over Manu Tuilagi for RBS Six Nations clash with Ireland

Last Updated: 10/02/13 2:27pm

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England have retained Billy Twelvetrees at centre for Sunday's RBS Six Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin - despite Manu Tuilagi's return to fitness.

Gloucester starlet Twelvetrees marked his England debut with a try in last weekend's 38-18 victory over Scotland and will partner Brad Barritt in the Red Rose midfield for a second time at the Aviva Stadium.

Tuilagi, a chief architect of England's momentous 38-21 autumn victory over world champions New Zealand, has recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of the Six Nations opener but has to be content with a place on the replacements' bench.

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

Stuart Lancaster makes just one enforced change to the XV that started against the Scots - James Haskell stepping up to blindside flanker and Tom Wood shifting to No 8 to replace the injured Ben Morgan (ankle).

Leicester No 8 Thomas Waldrom graduates to a replacement role, while Wasps counterpart Billy Vunipola has been sent back to his club along with Saracens wing David Strettle, who surrenders his spot on the bench to Tuilagi.


Sale Sharks tighthead prop Henry Thomas will play in Friday evening's Aviva Premiership match against Exeter Chiefs and then travel to Ireland with the squad as emergency cover.

Lancaster said ahead of the trip: "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 80 minutes in the last few 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.

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