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Lancaster plots onslaught on tighthead in bid to crush Irish

Published 05/02/2013 | 04:00

England coach Stuart Lancaster during the training session at Penny Hill Park, Bagshot
England coach Stuart Lancaster during the training session at Penny Hill Park, Bagshot

ENGLAND are expected to ruthlessly target Mike Ross in an attempt to derail Declan Kidney's men on Sunday by unleashing Northampton's Dylan Hartley on the Irish No 3.

The hooker, who was suspended for eight weeks after last year's corresponding fixture for biting Stephen Ferris, will replace Tom Youngs in the England line-up when Stuart Lancaster announces his team on Friday.

Lancaster is following Kidney's lead by delaying naming his team until Friday morning.

The England coach is also set to include human wrecking ball Manu Tuilagi in the centre, replacing Billy Twelvetrees, who made a try-scoring debut for England on Saturday when they defeated Scotland.

"Manu brings a unique set of skills and attributes to the game and the team, as we saw in his performance against the All Blacks," said Lancaster.

It is not all good news for the English, though, as No 8 Ben Morgan is struggling to recover from his sprained ankle.

England believe that if they can upset Ross, who had to be replaced 36 minutes into England's 30-9 win in the clash at Twickenham last year, they will be well on their way to reversing that trend.

Ross' departure from the field was the turning point in the match as Ireland were forced into playing loosehead specialist prop Tom Court out of position.

The hosts slaughtered Ireland in the scrums from then on and claimed victory, pushing the Irish down to third place as England took second spot in the table behind Wales.

Irish Independent

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