Sussex trio to start for England in Six Nations opener

Joe Marler will win his 16 cap for England in Paris on Saturday

Joe Marler will win his 16 cap for England in Paris on Saturday

First published in Sport by

Sussex trio Joe Marler, Joe Launchbury and Billy Twelvetrees have all been named in England's starting side for the opening Six Nations clash with France on Saturday.

Twelvetrees, from Pulborough, wins his ninth cap for Stuart Lancaster’s side at inside centre for the trip to the Stade de France while former Worthing players Marler and Launchbury retain their places in the pack.

Marler’s place at loosehead prop was thought to be under threat from Mako Vunipola, who features on the bench, but Lancaster has kept faith with the front eight that excelled during the autumn internationals.

Lancaster said: “We felt the pack went well in the autumn and it's right to leave it unchanged. But we have some quality players to come on off the bench, including two British and Irish Lions in Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola.

“We can't wait for Saturday. We've had a good two weeks and all the players have pushed hard for selection.”

England will give debuts to outside centre Luther Burrell and wing Jack Nowell in Paris.

Burrell has impressed throughout the season for Northampton, where he has been playing in the number 12 jersey, and starts ahead of Brad Barritt who is included on the bench.

Nowell, the tackle-busting Exeter wing, has benefited from injuries to Marland Yarde and Christian Wade to seize the number 14 jersey from the axed Chris Ashton.

England team: M Brown (Harlequins); J Nowell (Exeter), L Burrell (Northampton), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), J May (Gloucester); O Farrell (Saracens), D Care (Harlequins); J Marler (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), T Wood (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: T Youngs (Leicester), M Vunipola (Saracens), H Thomas (Sale), D Attwood (Bath), B Morgan (Gloucester), L Dickson (Northampton), B Barritt (Saracens), A Goode (Saracens).

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