Dickson pips Youngs to scrum-half spot
October 31, 2013
England prepare for Australia test
England coach Stuart Lancaster has picked Northampton Saints' Lee Dickson at scrum-half ahead of Ben Youngs for Saturday's game against Australia at Twickenham.
Dickson has enjoyed some impressive early season form at the Saints and he continues at No.9 after playing in both Tests for England against Argentina in the summer. Ben Youngs missed that tour as he was on British & Irish Lions duty and despite his good record against Australia, he will have to be content with a spot on the bench.
Harlequins' Danny Care was also in with a shout of starting at scrum-half but he was released for club duty earlier this week.
Elsewhere in the backs, Joel Tomkins makes his Test debut after being picked at outside centre while Billy Twelvetrees is handed the inside centre berth. Marland Yarde wins his second cap on the flank with Chris Ashton and Mike Brown completing the back three.
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In the pack, both Alex Corbisiero and Geoff Parling are out injured so Mako Vunipola is handed the loose-head berth with Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury named in the second-row. In the back-row, captain Chris Robshaw starts at openside with Tom Wood at blindside. Billy Vunipola earns his first Test start while Dave Attwood and Ben Morgan will provide cover from the bench.
"I'm delighted for Joel," Lancaster said. "He has had a great week's training and is ready for his chance. He has played in many high-profile games in his career so far and has a great temperament for the big occasion.
"Billy Vunipola and Marland Yarde made a big impression in Argentina and it's going to be a special occasion for them to run out at Twickenham in front of 82,000 passionate supporters for the first time.
"We are looking forward to the challenge of playing Australia - they have made great strides under Ewen McKenzie and their new coaching team and they are formidable opponents.
"It's eight months since we played at our home and we are looking forward to getting back there for the autumn internationals and what is a very important series for us two years out from the World Cup."
Mike Brown, Chris Ashton, Joel Tomkins, Billy Twelvetrees, Marland Yarde, Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson; Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw (captain), Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler, David Wilson, Dave Attwood, Ben Morgan, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Ben Foden
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