Ashton returns for Australia showdown
November 15, 2012
Winger Chris Ashton returns to the England line-up having served a one-match suspension © PA Photos
England have recalled winger Chris Ashton for their Cook Cup showdown with Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Saracens speedster returns from suspension in the only change to the side that swept Fiji aside 54-12 last weekend. As a result Gloucester's Charlie Sharples switches to the left wing with Quins' Ugo Monye making way.
Ashton scored his first Test try in England's 21-20 victory in Sydney on the 2010 summer tour and he touched down twice in a record 35-18 win at Twickenham the following autumn including a thrilling length of the field effort that was named the Try of the Year.
Lancaster has resisted the temptation to rush prop Alex Corbisiero back from injury while Wasps lock Tom Palmer has retained his place in the second row despite an impressive showing off the bench by his club-mate Joe Launchbury last weekend.
Thomas Waldrom continues at No.8 and Tom Johnson starts again on the blindside, with Tom Wood once again primed to come off the bench. Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi combine again in midfield after Jonathan Joseph, who has also just returned from injury, was released with Corbisiero to play for London Irish this weekend.
Fullback Alex Goode will be looking to build on his Man of the Match against the Fijians while Toby Flood and Danny Care will once again form the halfback pairing.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "To select 23 from a squad of 30 plus who have trained so well, with such intensity and focus, was difficult but it's a good position to be in. The "team first" mentality of all our squad has impressed us greatly.
"We were pleased with lots of aspects of our performance last week, but we know we need to improve this week and, by having some consistency in selection, we allow those players to demonstrate we can step up to the next level against what will be a very tough Australian side."
There will be another 82,000 full house at Twickenham and Lancaster added: "The crowd at Twickenham last week were brilliant and we can't wait to get back there this Saturday and take part in what I am sure will be a very exciting Test match."
On the potential for an Australia backlash after their Paris defeat, Lancaster added: "We will need to step up and our training this week has reflected that. The Aussies will have done a lot of work on their own performance this week after losing against the French. But the game before that they pushed the All Blacks to 18-18 and they are a very experienced side who have played some very good rugby over the last six months."
As for his targets for this weekend and beyond, he added: "We want to win them all," he said, "but wanting to win is one thing and getting the nuts and bolts in place to get the win is another. We want to work on the areas that didn't go so well (against Fiji)."
England: Alex Goode; Chris Ashton, Manusamoa Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, Charlie Sharples; Toby Flood, Danny Care; Joe Marler, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Tom Palmer, Geoff Parling, Tom Johnson, Chris Robshaw, Thomas Waldrom
Replacements: David Paice, David Wilson, Mako Vunipola, Joe Launchbury, Tom Wood, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Mike Brown
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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