Joseph starts alongside Burrell

Date published: February 4 2015

England have named an in-form Jonathan Joseph at outside centre for their Six Nations opener against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Friday.

The Bath star will start alongside Luther Burrell in midfield, with Billy Twelvetrees providing cover off the replacements bench in Cardiff.

Joseph will be joined on the pine by Nick Easter and Danny Cipriani while Tom Croft also earns a place amongst the matchday 23 for the fixture.

Chris Robshaw continues as captain in a back-row trio that includes Billy Vunipola and James Haskell, who comes in for the injured Tom Wood.

George Kruis and Dave Attwood form the lock combination while prop Dan Cole is fit enough to start alongside Dylan Hartley and Joe Marler.

“We’ve had to make some tight calls but we are excited about the side selected for what will be a big challenge,” said head coach Stuart Lancaster.

“JJ has been one of the form centres in the country. He and Luther have trained well together and this is a big opportunity for both of them.

“Billy Vunipola has also been playing well for Saracens and it’s good to be able to give George Kruis his first international start after his impressive run off the bench in November.

“Dan Cole and James Haskell bring a lot of experience, as do the bench, and their contribution will be crucial on Friday night.”

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 James Haskell, 5 George Kruis, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Nick Easter, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.

Date: Friday, February 6
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Referee: J