Itoje starts for England, Daly on the bench
Reuters  Published : 9:38 am  February 26, 2016 | No comments so far | Print This Post  | 
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Lock Maro Itoje will make his first England start on Saturday after being named in the side to play Ireland in the Six Nations at Twickenham.

Rugby Union - England Training - Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey - 25/2/16Maro Itoje of England during trainingAction Images via Reuters / Henry BrowneLivepicEDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Itoje, 21, who impressed off the bench on his debut in the victory in Rome two weeks ago, replaces Courtney Lawes who was named among the replacements on Thursday having been recalled to the squad on Wednesday when Joe Launchbury was ruled out with a hamstring strain.

Uncapped centre Elliot Daly was named among the replacements while the only other change to the starting team was the return of prop Joe Marler for Mako Vunipola who drops to the bench.

“Joe Marler made a big impact off the bench in Rome and will start at loose-head with Mako Vunipola finishing the game,” coach Eddie Jones said in a statement.

“Joe Launchbury is unlucky to miss out through injury; Maro Itoje is selected as a result and we’re pleased for him.

“Elliot Daly has worked hard this week and is now ready for a place in the 23. He can provide cover in several positions in the back line,” added Jones.

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

England lost to Ireland in Dublin last season but have won five of their last six meetings including World Cup warm-ups.

Jones said his side will have no hesitation in targeting Ireland’s flyhalf Johnny Sexton, who suffered concussion during the defeat to France on Feb. 13.

“We target players all the time. That’s part of rugby, isn’t it?” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“It’s not illegal to target someone. I don’t want our players to do anything illegal in terms of the laws. We want to be physical, fair and brutal,” he added, pointing out that he instructed his Australia side to run at England’s Jonny Wilkinson’s injured right shoulder during the 2003 World Cup final.

England top the Six Nations after two wins while Ireland, seeking a third successive title, have one point from their opening two games.

England team: 1-Joe Marler, 2-Dylan Hartley (captain), 3-Dan

Cole, 4-Maro Itoje, 5-George Kruis, 6-Chris Robshaw, 7-James

Haskell, 8-Billy Vunipola; 9-Ben Youngs, 10-George Ford, 11-Jack

Nowell, 12-Owen Farrell, 13-Jonathan Joseph, 14-Anthony Watson,

15-Mike Brown

Replacements: 16-Jamie George, 17-Mako Vunipola, 18-Paul Hill, 19-Courtney Lawes, 20-Jack Clifford, 21-Danny Care, 22-Elliot Daly, 23-Alex Goode.

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