England: Owen Farrell back at fly-half in one of four changes for Six Nations trip to face Ireland

Adam Kyriacou
Henry Arundell and Owen Farrell

England have made four changes to their starting team that will face Ireland in the Six Nations, as captain Owen Farrell returns at fly-half.

Farrell takes over at number 10 for the benched Marcus Smith as England look to bounce back from a record-breaking 53-10 loss to France last time out.

Outside of Farrell, the experienced Manu Tuilagi returns to the line-up at inside centre in place of the injured Ollie Lawrence, with Henry Slade at 13.

Henry Arundell starts on the wing

There’s a first England start for Henry Arundell on the left wing, with Anthony Watson on the right wing, and Freddie Steward is once again at full-back.

In the forward pack, Lewis Ludlam is named vice-captain and is flanker alongside Jack Willis, with Alex Dombrandt retained in the number eight jersey.

In the same front-row that has started each game of the Championship, vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler are either side of hooker Jamie George.

David Ribbans comes into the second-row and starts alongside Maro Itoje after Ollie Chessum joined Lawrence in being ruled out of the Six Nations finale.

Dan Cole is in line to make his 100th appearance for England after being named as a replacement prop. He made his England bow in the Six Nations in February 2010, going on to play in three Rugby World Cups and has won three Six Nations titles.

Elsewhere, Nick Isiekwe and Joe Marchant return to replacement duties, along with Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell and Smith.

“We travel to Dublin to face an Ireland team on Saturday that has the chance to secure a Grand Slam Championship victory at home for the first time,” said head coach Steve Borthwick ahead of what is a daunting test for his side after such a heavy loss.

Bitter disappointment after France loss

“We know that after the bitter disappointment of the display against an exceptional France team last week, we will have to be much improved to meet the challenge of playing the side presently ranked number one in the world.

“However, I have witnessed an England squad determined to make amends for the defeat at Twickenham, and I am confident that the team announced today will once again want to show the sort of resilience and attitude that brought us victory in Wales.”

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Henry Arundell, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 David Ribbans, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Joe Marchant

Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

READ MORE: Ireland: Robbie Henshaw starts after Garry Ringrose injury but Dan Sheehan and Caelan Doris fit for Grand Slam decider