Planet Rugby



Croft starts for England

14th March 2013 10:17


Tom Croft England Italy

Starter: Tom Croft

Leicester Tigers flanker Tom Croft will start at six for England against Wales as he continues his recovery from serious injury.

Croft made his first appearance in an England shirt for a year last weekend in the victory over Italy, after suffering a neck injury that left him close to paralysis.

England's other changes see Ben Youngs and Owen Farrell return at half-back in place of Danny Care and Toby Flood, who both drop to the bench.

The remaining change to the starting XV sees Harlequins prop Joe Marler start at loosehead ahead of Mako Vunipola.

Joe Launchbury and Geoff Parling have both recovered from injury to start in the second row, with James Haskell amongst the substitutes.

"We have come a long way through the November series and the Six Nations and we want to finish well on what will be a fantastic occasion in Cardiff," said England head coach Stuart Lancaster.

"It will be a great experience for our English team. Every single player, whether they are in the 23 or not this Saturday, has contributed to getting us in this position and they should be proud of that.

"The support of the country has been great throughout the tournament and I am sure they will be right behind us come 5 o'clock."

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.

Date: Saturday, 16 March
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), John Lacey (Ireland)
Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

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