England Player by player
James Haskell: Size and power must be respected
15 Alex Goode Age: 24 . Height: 1.81m (5’11”). Weight: 85kg (13st 5lb)
A gliding, penetrative outhalf, masquerading as a fullback, with a gorgeous right boot that will keep Ireland pinned in their 22 if the chasers fail to pressure him.
14 Chris Ashton
Age: 25 . Height: 1.82m (5’12”) . Weight: 92kg (14st 6lb)
Will probably adopt Zebo as his new enemy now that O’Gara is unlikely to feature. Provocative, annoyingly so, but can score from anywhere if afforded space.
13 Brad Barritt
Age: 26 . Height: 1.86m (6’1”). Weight: 95kg (14st 13lb)
Shut up all the people who labelled him nothing more than a grunt merchant with some dashing breaks against New Zealand last December. Has been dreaming of smashing O’Driscoll.
12 Billy Twelvetrees
Age: 24 . Height: 1.91m (6’3”). Weight: 100kg (15st 10lb)
The suspicion here is that Mike Catt got his way on selection with Twelvetrees in ahead of Manu Tuilagi. A decent alternative playmaker but his inexperience to this level of intensity can be exposed.
11 Mike Brown
Age: 27 . Height: 1.83m (6’) . Weight: 89kg (14st)
A highly respected fullback and nimble counter attacker but his lack of game time as a winger could be exposed by Sexton and Murray.
10 Owen Farrell
Age: 21 . Height: 1.88m (6’2”) . Weight: 96kg (15st 1lb)
Looks even stronger than Sexton in defence, may even have a greater weaponry, and will be keen to atone for a miserable kicking return at Thomond Park in Limerick in December.
9 Ben Youngs
Age: 23 . Height: 1.78m (5’10”). Weight: 92kg (14st 6lb)
So dangerous attacking around the ruck, this perpetual motion scrumhalf will be offset by the greater passing range Danny Care will add circa 60 minutes.
1 Joe Marler
Age: 22 . Height: 1.84m (6’). Weight: 110kg (17st 4lb)
Still only 22, but seems to have been around a lot longer, in the Cian Healy mould and appears to have control of that temper.
2 Tom Youngs
Age: 26 . Height: 1.75m (5’9”) . Weight: 102kg (16st 0lb)
This is what happens when you turn a powerful, naturally aggressive centre into a hooker. Throwing a potential weakness, but ferocious in the loose.
3 Dan Cole
Age: 25 . Height: 1.89m (6’2”). Weight: 118kg (18st 8lb)
Could be viewed as the premier tighthead in European rugby by the end of this tournament. Excellent scrummager but equally effective around the breakdown.
4 Joe Launchbury
Age: 21 . Height: 1.98m (6’6”). Weight: 115kg (18st 1lb)
Huge and versatile, the Wasps kid has limitless potential. Concerns about his aggression were dismissed when standing up to Eben Etzebeth in November.
5 Geoff Parling
Age: 29 . Height: 1.98m (6’6”). Weight: 114kg (17st 13lb)
A journey man, struggling for recognition at Newcastle, has moved to centre stage these past 12 months with some clever lineout work and athletic ball carrying.
6 James Haskell
Age: 27 . Height: 1.94m (6’4”). Weight: 114kg (17st 13lb)
Only selected due to Ben Morgan’s injury, nevertheless, his size and power must be respected but hassle him early and the crowd will become a hugely effective 16th man.
7 Chris Robshaw
Age: 26 . Height: 1.88m (6’2”). Weight: 110kg (17st 4lb)
Lacks the punch of O’Brien but his carrying and tackling statistics will be similar. Like Heaslip, this represents the biggest test of his captaincy.
8 Tom Wood
Age: 26 . Height: 1.95m (6’5”). Weight: 109kg (17st 2lb)
A world-class blindside, devilish at the breakdown and a tackling machine, his skills at the base of the scrum are untested.