Lancaster set to name unchanged XV
March 11, 2014
George Ford and Owen Farrell - chasing one place © Getty Images
Stuart Lancaster has indicated he is unlikely to make any changes to his starting XV for the final Six Nations game against Italy in Rome on Saturday on the back of their 29-18 win over Wales.
The one change he might make is to recall centre Manu Tuilagi to the bench in place of Alex Goode. "If we were to go down the route of using him on the bench he'd certainly have a big impact," Lancaster said. "We didn't feel that it was right to involve Manu against Wales because of his lack of training time with us. We'd be more comfortable bringing him in for this weekend.
"I haven't spoken to any of the players yet and there's someone who would lose their spot on the bench if that's the route we go down. One option is for him to cover wing and we have both Jack Nowell and Jonny May who can cover fullback."
There has been speculation that 20-year-old George Ford, who came on for the final minute of the Wales game, might replace Owen Farrell, but Lancaster played that down.
"Owen played exceptionally well in every way, shape and form against Wales," he said. "I've looked again at his performance and his defence, goal kicking and game management were was outstanding. His decision-making and calmness under pressure were excellent. It would be a tough call on Owen to leave him out.
"George has great potential and opportunities will come his way. I've pencilled in at least one game he's definitely going to start, if not two. His chance will come."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September