Six Nations: Stuart Lancaster confident England up to beating Ireland

Last Updated: 20/02/14 4:33pm

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Stuart Lancaster: Confident in England's ability all over the park

Stuart Lancaster: Confident in England's ability all over the park

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Stuart Lancaster is confident England's front-row will not be lacking against Ireland in the absence of Dan Cole.

Cole is out for the rest of the Six Nations and the 2013-14 season because of a neck injury and his place in the Lancaster's starting XV is taken by Bath's David Wilson.

Wilson has 31 England caps to his name, so is not lacking in international experience, but he has only played 47 minutes of rugby in the last two months because of calf and back problems.

But Lancaster insists he is ready to be thrown back into the middle of the action at Twickenham on Saturday, as he told Sky Sports News: "He's an experienced tight-head, he's played right the way through our autumn series and played in Argentina.

"He hasn't had as much game time as he or we would like but we're definitely confident in him and he's up to speed straight away - he fitted in seamlessly. He's good to go."


Lancaster's only other change comes on the bench where fly-half George Ford replaces Brad Barritt, and he is confident the Bath youngster is ready for his international baptism if called upon this weekend.

He added: "You never go into a game with a pre-determined decision in mind what you are going to do with your bench - we'll just see how the game unfolds but we're confident in him.

"He's been with us three weeks in camp, he's up to speed and it's a key tactical and leadership position. He's got to feel ready to lead the team if necessary and we feel he's got those runs on the board now.

"He's very calm and composed, a great game manager with great game understanding. He has a point of difference in his running game and his ability to take the ball to the line, and his kicking game is excellent.

"It's an exciting position to be in with Owen (Farrell) and George in the team together and I am sure they will be together for a long time to come."

England will be coming up against old foe Brian O'Driscoll on Saturday, with the Ireland centre set to equal George Gregan's record of 139 international caps, but Lancaster says there will be no special focus on the veteran.


He added: "We certainly respect the Ireland team at the moment, the way they are playing. Brian's clearly a key component of that.

"He's an excellent player and an excellent ambassador for his country and for the sport so we respect him, but we're at Twickenham and we're confident in the group we've got and we want to make sure we put on a show for the crowd."

Lancaster's players will go through an extended 'Walk To Work' before the game, making their way to the home dressing room through the crowds to try and pick up some of the energy provided by supporters as well as get them excited for the spectacle to follow.

He said: "I think it works both ways. We want to be on the front foot, being English and being proud of it.

"The players enjoy that moment so we have extended it a bit and hopefully we can give them plenty to shout about when the game comes around."

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