England confirm George Ford will be involved against Ireland
England team takes shape ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations match at Twickenham
George Ford is set to be named on the bench and could make his England debut against Ireland this weekend. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
England coach Stuart Lancaster may not be naming his side to face Ireland until Thursday morning but it appears the only change to the starting line-up will see David Wilson come in for the injured Dan Cole while George Ford is to win a place on the replacements bench.
With Cole ruled out of the remainder of the Six Nations due to a neck injury, Lancaster will place his faith in Wilson for Saturday’s match in London (kick-off 4pm). The 28-year-old Bath prop will be pressed into action at Twickenham despite having played just 47 minutes since recovering from a calf injury sustained two months ago.
The only alternative at tighthead is Henry Thomas, who has been supplying cover to Cole from the bench, but at 22 the Sale Shark is deemed unready to start such a pivotal match.
Ford, meanwhile, could make his debut off the bench after Lancaster confimred tongith that the Bath outhalf will supply cover to Owen Farrell.
“We feel that the time is right to include George Ford in the match day squad,” Lancaster said.
England backs coach Andy Farrell had earlier said Ford, a son of former Ireland and England defence coach Mike Ford, is ready to step up to the international stage.
“We want to give everyone the chance to impose themselves on the squad and George is no different,” Farrell said of the 20-year-old.
“He is comfortable in this environment. He knows all the players, all the systems – kicking-wise, attacking-wise, defensively, exit strategies – once you’re comfortable with that then you can bring your own game to the party. He is certainly ready.”
Ford’s likely inclusion will see the Saracens back Brad Barritt drop out of the matchday squad with the rest of the personnel unchanged.
Probable England team (v Ireland): M Brown (Harlequins); J Nowell (Exeter), L Burrell (Northampton), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), J May (Gloucester); O Farrell (Saracens), D Care (Harlequins); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), D Wilson (Bath); J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton); T Wood (Northampton), B Vunipola (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins). Replacements : T Youngs (Leicester), M Vunipola (Saracens), H Thomas (Sale), D Attwood (Bath), B Morgan (Gloucester), L Dickson (Northampton), G Ford (Bath), A Goode (Saracens).