Hartley back to lead England in Ireland clash

Hartley back to lead England in Ireland clash

Dylan Hartley is back to lead England in their final Six Nations game against Ireland on Saturday, but halfbacks George Ford and Danny Care are left out.

Eddie Jones takes radical action after successive defeats.

Hartley missed last week's loss to France but has recovered from a calf strain and is one of seven changes to the starting line-up.

Jones has brought in Richard Wigglesworth at scrumhalf and moved Owen Farrell to flyhalf, with Ben Te'o and Jonathan Joseph in the centres.

There is also a new-look back row, with James Haskell starting at openside flanker, Sam Simmonds at number eight and Chris Robshaw moved back to blindside. Simmonds and Robshaw replace injured duo Nathan Hughes and Courtney Lawes.

Anthony Watson retains the fullback shirt, with Mike Brown again on the bench.

"We can't wait to get back to Twickenham and play there," Jones said. "We have had a couple of tough games on the road and to get back and play in front of our 24th man will be exciting for the players.

"Ireland is a very good team. We have seen in every game the physical contest has been quite enormous, so we have to meet that physical challenge and then play smart tactically."

The Australian had delayed naming his team to run fitness tests on Hartley and Elliot Daly, who has been declared fit to start after recovering from a foot injury.

Prop Kyle Sinckler is rewarded with a starting berth after an impressive cameo in his previous outing, with Cole dropped to the bench while George Kruis starts in the second row ahead of Joe Launchbury.

Exeter's Dom Armand, the stand-out back rower in the Premiership this season is named among the replacements. Armand has largely been ignored by Jones since making his sole international appearance off the bench in Argentina last year.

After losses in Scotland and France, the defending champions are trying to avoid three successive Six Nations defeats for the first time since 2006.

If they do lose on Saturday -- handing Ireland their third grand slam in the process -- they could finish fifth in the standings, their worst performance for 35 years. England team: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Te'o, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 6 Chris Robshaw, 7 James Haskell, 8 Sam Simmonds

 

Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Don Armand, 21 Danny Care, 22 George Ford, 23 Mike Brown 

Published: by Radio NewsHub
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