Chris Robshaw will continue to captain England for the remainder of the 6 Nations.
The Harlequins flanker led the side to victories over Scotland and Italy in the first two rounds of the tournament.
Robshaw’s leadership received plenty of praise on both occasions but the likely return of Tom Wood had led to suggestions that the captaincy might switch hands for the games against Wales, France and Ireland.
Wood looked to set to pip Robshaw to the armband before a toe injury put him on the sidelines in the middle of last month.
But England’s interim head coach Stuart Lancaster has put the issue to bed by announcing that he will put his faith in Robshaw as England look to retain their 6 Nations crown, starting with the home tie against the Welsh a week on Saturday.
“Chris has stepped into the role well and led a new team in two tough away fixtures,” said Lancaster, who was named England boss until at least the summer tour of South Africa.
“He is one of many leaders we could have chosen against Scotland and Italy but he has shown on and off the field the qualities required to captain a side.
“We feel it is right to make a call now that Chris will lead England for the rest of the 6 Nations.”
Robshaw had won just a single Test cap prior to leading the team out at Murrayfield two-and-a-half weeks’ ago.
He became his country’s most inexperienced captain since scrum-half Nigel Melville 27 years ago and he admits he’s loved the experience so far.
“Captaining the team against Scotland was the proudest day of my life and to get the chance again against Italy was fantastic,” said Robshaw.
“To do so at Twickenham would be something else and I'm thankful to the coaches for giving me that opportunity and to all the lads for helping me over the last few weeks.
“For now I'm just focusing on training hard and helping us get ready to play a strong Welsh team.”
Robshaw won’t be on club duty this weekend as he concentrates on preparing for World Cup semi-finalists Wales but 16 of his England team-mates will be in Premiership, Top 14 or PRO12 action.
Lions tourists Lee Mears and Matt Stevens are available for selection for Bath’s home tie with Gloucester and Saracens’ encounter with Leicester respectively, while Mike Brown, Calum Clark, Paul Doran Jones, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Charlie Sharples, Joe Simpson, Jordan Turner-Hall, Thomas Waldrom and Rob Webber can also take part in the domestic calendar.
Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood and Courtney Lawes will continue their comebacks from injury with Leicester and Northampton as they look to prove their form and fitness ahead of what would be their first international appearances of the year.
Second row Tom Palmer, who will return to London Wasps next season, is the only member of the starting XV that won in Rome to be released, though. Palmer is set to feature for Stade Francais in their Top 14 clash with Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon.