Owen Farrell starts at fly-half for England against Wales as Stuart Lancaster brings in three players from the team who beat Fiji
Stuart Lancaster has made the decision to drop George Ford to the bench for England’s game against Wales on Saturday evening, with Owen Farrell stepping in at fly-half.
Farrell, who has 32 England caps to his name, has only started one game for his country since November 2014, having missed the Six Nations through injury.
His inclusion could be a result of the midfield reshuffle caused by Jonathan Joseph’s chest injury, which sees Brad Barritt move outside to No 13 and Sam Burgess coming in at inside-centre.
Farrell is thought to provide more strength in defence to Ford, although the Bath man performed admirably against Wales in the opening Six Nations match in Cardiff this Spring.
Utility back Alex Goode takes a place on the bench alongside Ford and provides Lancaster with options when it comes to replacing his backs, with the Saracens man having played full-back, centre and wing in his 18 England appearances. Farrell can also move outside to the centres should Ford come on to replace Burgess.
Lancaster’s other change sees Billy Vunipola start at No 8 to replace the injured Ben Morgan, who is struggling with a knee ailment. James Haskell makes the bench as back-row cover.
England: Mike Brown; Anthony Watson, Brad Barritt, Sam Burgess, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw, Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: Rob Webber, Mako Vunipola, Kieran Brookes, Joe Launchbury, James Haskell, Richard Wigglesworth, George Ford, Alex Goode.