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Published: 10:20 | 25/2/16

Itoje to start for England


Maro Itoje will make his full England debut in Saturday's RBS Six Nations clash with Ireland,

Itoje was named on the bench for the win over England but he is promoted to the starting XV for the visit of Ireland after Joe Launchbury was ruled out because of a hamstring injury. Courtney Lawes will provide the second row cover from the bench.

"Joe Launchbury is unlucky to miss out through injury; Maro Itoje is selected as result and we’re pleased for him," England head coach Eddie Jones commented.

There are just two changes to the side with Joe Marler preferred to Mako Vunipola in the front row, where he joins captain Dylan Hartley and Dan Cole.

“Joe Marler made a big impact off the bench in Rome and will start the game with Mako Vunipola finishing the match," Jones added.

George Kruis starts alongside Itoje in the second row as Chris Robshaw, J Haskell and Billy Vunipola complete the pack.

In the backs Mike Brown starts at full-back and is joined in the back three by Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph.

Owen Farrell and Jack Nowell are named in midfield with George Ford and Ben Youngs making up the half-back partnership.

“Playing our first game at Twickenham after two away fixtures will be huge for us," Jones added. "We’re determined to put in a strong performance against a clever Irish side who are the benchmark of European rugby.”

England (XV v Ireland): M Brown; Watson, J Joseph, O Farrell, Norwell; Ford, B Youngs; J Marler, D Hartley, Cole, M Itoje, Kruis, Robshaw, Haskell, B Vunipola.

Replacements: J George, M Vunipola, P Hill, C Lawes, J Clifford, D Care, E Daly, A Goode.

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