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George Ford named in match day squad for Ireland

18 February 2014

  • Two changes to England’s match day squad to face Ireland on Saturday
  • Bath duo Ford and Wilson replaced Barritt and Cole respectively
Bath Rugby fly half George Ford, who appears in a match day squad for the first time against Ireland

Photo: Getty Images

George Ford is set for a Test debut after replacing Brad Barritt in England’s 23-man squad to face Ireland on Saturday at Twickenham.

Fly half Ford, a mainstay of England age-group rugby, has consistently impressed domestically for Bath Rugby after arriving in the West Country from Leicester Tigers last summer.

Having racked up 163 points since September, the 20 year-old is the top scorer in the Aviva Premiership and underlined that fact with another assured display – including a last-minute penalty – on Saturday in his side’s 27-23 defeat of Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.

Ford’s clubmate David Wilson is also included for the first time this year after recovering from a calf injury.  The 28 year-old comes in for injured tight head prop Dan Cole, who needs a period of rest from rugby after a bulging disc in his neck is trapping a nerve. Wilson started against Argentina in last autumn's QBE Internationals and is in line for a 32nd cap.

There are no further changes to the party that lost 26-24 to France before beating Scotland 20-0 at Murrayfield.

Bath Rugby tight-head prop David Wilson, who returns to the squad to face Ireland at Twickenham

Photo: Getty Images

Ahead of his team’s third match in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations, England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We feel that the time is right to include George Ford in the match-day squad. A full three weeks of training as allowed him the chance to really understand the way we developing our game and this time is crucial, in order for him to feel confident and ready in a key decision-making and leadership position.

“We have successfully integrated and included many young players over the last two years and George is the next exciting talent to make his mark in the senior squad and we are a looking forward to see him develop over the next few months.

“Brad is obviously disappointed but he is still a key member of our squad and I am sure he will get further opportunities in the future. He hasn't had much game time since his injury and will benefit from some time with Saracens over the next two weeks."

Cole saw a specialist this evening regarding his neck and the results of the assessment will now be considered by the England and Leicester Tigers medical teams. A further update will be given by Lancaster at Thursday’s media briefing.

England squad to face Ireland (23)

Forwards (13)

David Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)  
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (10)

Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)

Returning to Aviva Premiership clubs

Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)