Wednesday 17 January 2018

Young poised to get No 9 nod for England's Aussie Test

Courtney Lawes
Courtney Lawes

Press Association

England will name their team for Saturday's international against Australia this morning, with scrum-half providing the greatest area of debate.

Ben Youngs' experience is likely to see him start in the No 9 jersey, but Lee Dickson has been in better form this season and could be the preferred option.

Until Geoff Parling was ruled out against the Wallabies with mild concussion on Tuesday night, a fierce battle for the second-row was nearing its climax.

Courtney Lawes is viewed as a definite starter, leaving Parling and Joe Launchbury to compete for the remaining vacancy.

Unless head coach Stuart Lancaster springs a surprise by picking Dave Attwood, who returned to action after a rib injury only last week, to partner Lawes, it will be Launchbury who starts.

England were outmuscled by Wales as they crashed to a 30-3 defeat in their season-defining Grand Slam match in Cardiff and have recognised the need for more of the type of physicality Lawes can provide.

"I've been very impressed with the consistency in his game and so have his club," forwards coach Graham Rowntree said. "He's really come on, he's developing into a line-out leader and he's maturing well."

Rowntree, however, refuses to cast Lawes in the role of enforcer and outlines what he expects from his tight five.

"I want the opposition to know they're on the field. We want our guys doing a simple job dynamically and aggressively," Rowntree said.

"I don't want anybody in the sin bin or anybody fighting when someone else is making their tackles – you can't do that these days – but I want guys to impose themselves physically on the opposition."

Alex Corbisiero's knee injury means Mako Vunipola, who struggled against Australia's scrum in the second Test for the Lions, will be picked at loosehead prop.

Joel Tomkins will make his Test debut alongside Billy Twelvetrees in the midfield, with Chris Ashton and Marland Yarde on the wings and Mike Brown at full-back.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport