Banahan steps in for injured Tindall
March 17, 2011
No.8 Nick Easter will lead his country for the second time in a Test match against Ireland in Dublin © Getty Images
Grand Slam-chasing England have been forced into a significant change ahead of their Six Nations showdown with Ireland in Dublin.
Captain Mike Tindall has been forced out of the clash with an ankle ligament strain suffered in last weekend's victory over Scotland with the captaincy passing to No.8 Nick Easter. Matt Banahan will make his second Test start at outside centre in place of Tindall while Saracens wing David Strettle, whose last Test appearance for England came against New Zealand on the 2008 summer tour, will fill the vacant back's position on the bench.
Leicester flanker Tom Croft remains among the replacements, despite marking his comeback from a fractured shoulder with a try-scoring appearance off the bench against Scotland. Easter, who took over the leadership reigns when Tindall was forced off at half-time against the Scots, first captained England in a Test match in last November's victory over Samoa. That was also the game in which Banahan, 24, made his first Test start at outside centre after winning his first five England caps on the wing.
Ireland have handed Jonathan Sexton the No.10 shirt despite a mixed showing against Wales last weekend when he appeared as a replacement for veteran Ronan O'Gara. Elsewhere, Keith Earls moves to fullback in place of Luke Fitzgerald, who misses out on the 22 altogether, while Ulster wing Andrew Trimble is recalled out wide as a result.
Leinster scrum-half Eoin Reddan has been named in the starting line-up despite suffering a concussion in the opening seconds last weekend, with Peter Stringer on the bench. Munster's Tomas O'Leary has been ruled out with an eye injury.
Ireland: K Earls (Munster); T Bowe (Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Court (Ulster), L Cullen (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), P Stringer (Munster), R O'Gara (Munster), P Wallace (Ulster)
England: B Foden (Northampton Saints); C Ashton (Northampton Saints), M Banahan (Bath Rugby), S Hape (Bath Rugby), M Cueto (Sale Sharks); T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), T Palmer (Stade Francais), T Wood (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (Stade Francais), N Easter (Harlequins, capt).
Replacements: S Thompson (Leeds Carnegie), P Doran-Jones (Gloucester), S Shaw (London Wasps), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), D Care (Harlequins), J Wilkinson (Toulon), D Strettle (Saracens).
Referee: Byrce Lawrence (NZ)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wal), Tim Hayes (Wal)
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