Strettle returns

David Strettle will return to the England line up for Saturday's 6 Nations clash with Ireland. [more]

Strettle returns

David Strettle will return to the England line up for Saturday’s 6 Nations clash with Ireland.

Strettle missed the 24-22 win over France with a sternum injury but has been declared fit for the final round of action.

The Saracens wing replaces Gloucester Charlie Sharple, who made his first Test start in Paris, as England look for the victory that could secure them the Championship.

England need to beat Ireland and hope Wales lose to France, with a 38-point swing also essential for Stuart Lancaster’s men to retain the title.

The recall of Strettle is Lancaster’s only change to his starting side but he does make a further alteration to his bench where 2009 Test Lion Lee Mears replaces the injured Rob Webber as back-up hooker.

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Sharples drops out of the matchday squad altogether, with Mike Brown, Charlie Hodgson and Ben Youngs providing back-line cover.

“David Strettle has now recovered from his injury and will replace Charlie Sharples, who gained valuable experience in Paris,” said Lancaster.

“Charlie did great on his first outing in France but David gives us a bit more experience in that position.

“Unfortunately, Rob Webber got a bang on his shoulder in the brief time he was on the field. He’ll miss this game and will see a specialist on Monday.

“It's good to have Lee Mears on the bench and he will bring great energy and experience should he get a chance to come on. To bring a British & Irish Lion into your squad is fantastic.

“Otherwise, we feel the players who put the effort in in Paris deserve the chance to play in this last game against Ireland.

“Mouritz Botha had a bang on the shoulder against France but that’s settled down so he’s good to go. Owen Farrell also got a bang on his shoulder but he’s fit to train today.”

England have won three of their four tournament games so far, with the famous victory at the Stade de France preceded by away wins in Edinburgh and Rome.

And while speculation continues to surround the appointment of a permanent head coach, Lancaster insists his team are purely focused on continuing their quest to put some pride back into the England jersey after the disappointing World Cup campaign.

“It seems like yesterday when we got together in Leeds in January and began a new journey for England rugby,” added Lancaster.

“Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and myself firmly believe in this group of players and the direction we are going.

“Saturday is another step on that road and we are looking forward to coming home to a packed Twickenham with its special atmosphere and crowd.

“Their support has been phenomenal and we hope we can do the whole nation proud again.”

England (v Ireland, Twickenhma, Saturday, 5pm)

15 Ben Foden
14 Chris Ashton
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Brad Barritt
11 David Strettle
10 Owen Farrell
9 Lee Dickson

1 Alex Corbisiero
2 Dylan Hartley
3 Dan Cole
4 Mouritz Botha
5 Geoff Parling
6 Tom Croft
7 Chris Robshaw
8 Ben Morgan

Replacements

16 Lee Mears
17 Matt Stevens

18 Tom Palmer
19 Phil Dowson
20 Ben Youngs
21 Charlie Hodgson
22 Mike Brown

NB Bold denotes Lion

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