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SIX NATIONS 2013: England XV to play France

Tuilagi recalled by Lancaster in one of three changes made by England for Le Crunch

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

10:45 GMT, 21 February 2013

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UPDATED:

12:15 GMT, 21 February 2013

Stuart Lancaster has urged England to vary their attack against France after confirming his team for Saturday’s RBS Six Nations match at Twickenham.

As predicted by Sportsmail this week England’s head coach has decided to make three changes for the third match en route to a possible Grand Slam.

Following the win over Ireland, Lancaster this morning announced he had recalled centre Manu Tuilagi, hooker Dylan Hartley and flanker Courtney Lawes.

Centre of attention: Manu Tuilagi runs with the ball during England training at Pennyhill Park on Tuesday

Centre of attention: Manu Tuilagi runs with the ball during England training at Pennyhill Park on Tuesday

ENGLAND TEAM TO FACE FRANCE:

15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Courtney Lawes, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain).

Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 David Wilson, 19 James Haskell, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.

All three were substitutes in the win
in Dublin and replace Billy Twelvetrees, Tom Youngs and James Haskell
who are all on the bench this time.

Lancaster is looking to use the
firepower of the trio to tackle a French team who have had endure a
disastrous Six Nations so far in losing to Italy and Wales.

Lancaster explained: ‘We thought long and hard about changing a winning team which did so well against Ireland.

‘But we believe that Dylan, Courtney
and Manu are ready for the opportunity and allow us to vary our play,
while the bench will add impact and energy as the game unfolds in the
second half.

‘The players are really looking
forward to getting back to Twickenham. The atmosphere in the stadium is
fantastic and hopefully the crowd can get behind us in what is sure to
be a great challenge against a motivated and physical French team.’

Meanwhile, France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made eight changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's match.

Making way: Billy Twelvetrees will be on the bench at Twickenham despite his superb show against Scotland

Making way: Billy Twelvetrees will be on the bench at Twickenham despite his superb show against Scotland

FRANCE TEAM TO FACE ENGLAND:

15 Yoann Huget, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra;
1 Thomas Domingo, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 3 Nicolas Mas, 4 Christophe Samson, 5 Yoann Maestri, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir (captain).

Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski,
17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Luc Ducalcon,
19 Jocelino Suta, 20 Antonie Claassen,
21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Florian Fritz.

Saint-Andre has opted for a new half-back pairing, with Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc replacing Maxime Machenaud and Frederic Michalak following Les Bleus' 16-6 defeat against Wales at the Stade de France 12 days ago.

Vincent Clerc returns on the right wing, with Wesley Fofana switching to his preferred role of centre for the Twickenham encounter.

Saint-Andre's team head to England after losing their opening two Five or Six Nations games for the first time since 1982.

Wales' success in Paris followed a 23-18 loss in Italy six days previously, meaning the wooden spoon has now become a distinct possibility for the pre-tournament favourites.

'After two defeats in the tournament, we wanted competition and freshness in the squad,' Saint-Andre said. 'We have to have the freshness and enthusiasm.

'We will prepare a lot of fight in Twickenham.'

London Irish 9 Leicester 31: match report

London Irish 9 Leicester 31: Shaky Tigers end up with big win

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UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 22 December 2012

Leicester possessed sufficient control in the pack and enough all-round determination to cope with the filthy conditions at the Madejski and condemn London Irish to a fifth straight Premiership defeat.

In the process, the Tigers cemented their place in the Premiership’s top four.

The visitors took the lead after 12 minutes following a piece of vision by Toby Flood.

Out of my way: Geordan Murphy of Leicester Tigers shrugs off David Paice

Out of my way: Geordan Murphy of Leicester Tigers shrugs off David Paice

With the Exiles expecting a kick to
touch, the Leicester fly-half sent a precise cross-kick into the arms
of Niall Morris, who crossed to touch down for a try in the opposite
corner. Flood added the conversion.

Irish’s early chances were limited to a
hack and hope from Topsy Ojo, which trickled over the dead ball line,
before Leicester’s forward dominance earned a 31st-minute penalty try.

Ian Humphreys’ penalty narrowed the
margin on the stroke of half-time, but the writing was clear on the
Irish wall, even through the murk.

The only blot on Leicester’s copybook
was the 46th-minute sin-binning of scrum-half Ben Youngs for interfering
with an Irish tap penalty.

Resistance: Marcos Ayerza holds off Bryn Evans

Resistance: Marcos Ayerza holds off Bryn Evans

In his absence, Humphreys struck twice
to narrow the margin to five points, but Young’s return saw the
visitors seal the game in emphatic style.

Flood kicked a penalty 13 minutes from
time before Jamie Gibson obstructed Morris as he raced to touch down
after Flood’s sublime break, earning both a penalty try and a
sin-binning.

In the dying moments, Morris claimed
the touchdown which should have been his hat-trick, with Flood
converting the bonus point try to cap an emphatic day for the Tigers.

It was a ‘disappointing’ afternoon,
according to London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith, while his
counterpart, Richard Cockerill, predictably, was ‘pleased’ with the
battling bonus point.

They were differing emotions doubtless shared by all 10,958 in the sodden crowd.

Release: Toby Flood offloads under pressure from Sailosi Tagicakibau

Release: Toby Flood offloads under pressure from Sailosi Tagicakibau

Treviso 13 Leicester 14: Tigers" Heineken Cup hopes back on track after last gasp penalty try

Treviso 13 Leicester 14: Tigers' Heineken Cup hopes back on track after last gasp penalty try

PUBLISHED:

16:49 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

21:35 GMT, 15 December 2012

Richard Cockerill was left seething after a controversial penalty try almost derailed his team's Heineken Cup hopes.

But it was a second penalty try two minutes from time – this time for Leicester – that got the Tigers out of jail and took them top of Pool Two.

Victory salute: Leicester Tigers players salute their fans after winning in Italy

Touching down: Thompstone of Leicester tucked away a try after 14 minutes

That was only after Irish referee
Alain Rolland frustrated Leicester with his award of a first-half
penalty try, even though Treviso's pack were still 20 yards from the
line.

Leicester coach Cockerill said: 'I
have never seen anything like it in the 30 years that I have been
involved with rugby. If that had been awarded for us I would have sat in
my chair in embarrassment.'

Trailing 13-7 with the final whistle
looming and Treviso eyeing a famous win, Cockerill's men ground out the
winning score as their power in the scrum finally told.

George Ford held his nerve to convert and send Leicester ahead of Toulouse in the standings.

Cockerill said: 'We're obviously
very relieved. Treviso made us work exceptionally hard but you have to
congratulate our players for sticking in there.'

Ben Youngs set up Adam Johnstone on 14 minutes but Alberto Di Bernardo kicked Treviso ahead before the drama.

Richard Cockerill, Leicester Tigers Head Coach

Back on track: Richard Cockerill's men have lived to fight another day

Pool Two now looks like a three-way
fight, with Ospreys beating Toulouse in the other fixture. The Tigers'
final day fixture against the French side is likely to decide their
destiny.

For Treviso,
progression from the group has never really been a realistic goal, but
there was much pride to play for having perfumed so well in the reverse
fixture, only to come away with nothing.

Once again they deserved so much better after an heroic effort.

Alberto Di Bernardo kicked everything that came his way for Franco Smith's men.

LIVE: England v New Zealand – from Twickenham

LIVE: England v New Zealand: Follow all the action at Twickenham as it happens

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UPDATED:

15:59 GMT, 1 December 2012

England are looking to bounce back from two devastating defeats at the hands of Australia and South Africa at Twickenham to end the Autumn Test series on a high.

It'll be far from easy though, as the fearsome All Blacks are on the crest of a wave having brushed a depleted Wales team aside last week. Follow Sportsmail's live coverage here.

ENGLAND 25 NEW ZEALAND 14

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 8 Ben Morgan.

Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Dave Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonathan Joseph.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith; 1 Tony Woodcock, 2 Keven Mealamu, 3 Owen Franks, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Liam Messam, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 8 Kieran Read.

Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ben Smith.

62min: TRY! ENGLAND 32 New Zealand 14

He's deserved a try. Manu Tuilagi intercepts Kieran Read's slack pass and bursts clear. Mike brown protects him from Sam Whitelock and he jogs over the line before laying the ball down!

Farrell is back in the points too, and coolly converts!

That's already England's highest ever score against an All Blacks side.

58min: TRY! ENGLAND 25 New Zealand 14

WOW! England have the ball in a non-threatening position. Until Tuilagi gets it that is! He makes Dan Carter look like a child as he bulldozes through the No 10 and leaves him for dead.

Tuilagi wait just long enough for Chris Ashton to overlap before releasing the wing.

Ashton is celebrating before he gets to the line. He performs an exaggerated swallow dive and gets the ball down! Unbelievable!

Farrell misses his second kick in a row though.

57min: Just when I though the tide was turning. New Zealand looked rampant but Lancaster's men showed they can play some slick rugby too.

Farrell was involved again but Tuilagi and Barritt looked unstoppable!

54min: TRY! ENGLAND 20 New Zealand 14

Top class from both England's centres. Farrell finds Brad Barritt whodrives forward to pop the ball to Tuilagi.

Manu looks like he'll go alone but he flicks the ball back to Barritt who gets the ball down. What a response!

Farrell hits the crossbar from the conversion and misses. No one's perfect.

52min: TRY! England 15 NEW ZEALAND 14

Jane and Dagg were fantastic for that try. They slice through the England defence before Dagg lays the ball to Conrad Jones who barely touches the ball to lay it into Kieran Read's grasp.

All he has to do is put the ball down. Carter converts again to put them within a point. A devastating five minutes!

50min: New Zealand look up for it now. Cory Jane isn't the biggest, but he's so strong. He sidesteps two England men before holding off another and laying the ball on.

They are throwing the kitchen sink at England now…

48min: TRY! England 15 NEW ZEALAND 7

They've finally got points on the board. Julian Savea shows quick feet at colossal upper body strength to blast his way through and get the ball down.

They convert too to cut the lead even further.

47min: A bit of a scrap after the play stops. Cory Jane breaks brilliantly on the right and is stopped illegally.

New Zealand have a line-out near the try-line after Mike Brown has to be dragged away to prevent a brawl.

45min: Cue a booming chorus of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot! What an atmosphere. This is a test of the All Blacks' resolve now.

43min: PENALTY! ENGLAND 15 New Zealand 0

Owen Farrell is putting them to the sword. England are out of reach of two converted tries as it stands.

I thought the All Blacks would come out flying. Instead, they've gone further behind!

42min: Another penalty for England! Can Farrell notch up another three England went at the All Blacks in the scrum well and won a deserved penalty.

Farrell could put England out of sight…

15.34: KICK-OFF! OWEN FARRELL GETS THE MATCH UNDER WAY AGAIN

15.29: We're surely likely to see an improved New Zealand showing in the second half, but Richie McCaw will be gutted with the dismal display so far.

He'll want to avoid signing off for six months without slumping to defeat.

15.27: Here's a nice little stat too: New Zealand haven't had a scoreless first half since 1998.

15.25: I'm not sure who would have predicted this. I certainly didn't. There was a lot of talk about whether England could sneak a win over Steve Hansen's team, but as it stands, they are comprehensively beating the All Blacks.

40min: PENALTY! ENGLAND 12 New Zealand 0

He makes it! It's some way out, but he hits it straight and true. With that the half-time whistle goes and the mighty New Zealand look like a shell of the team who beat Wales last week.

They've got it all to do in the second half.

40min: It's almost half-time but Farrell has the chance to kick another three. New Zealand gave a penalty away which the 21-year-old will be looking to take.

Perfection: Owen Farrell kicked England into a 12-point lead in the first half

Perfection: Owen Farrell kicked England into a 12-point lead in the first half

Battle: England drive against the All Blacks

Battle: England drive against the All Blacks

38min: DROP-GOAL! ENGLAND 9 New Zealand 0

Guess who scored the points Owen Farrell finds himself in acres of space after some neat ball play. Rather than going for the try, he makes a great call and kicks for goal.

The ball sails between the posts and England look like they are going in at half-time with a comfortable lead.

36min: Carter rescues New Zealand from a certain try! Manu Tuilagi is released and appears to be clean through. But Carter, who is far slighter than Manu, reaches back to drag him down to earth.

Tony Woodcock tries to burst through

Tony Woodcock tries to burst through

34min: PENALTY! ENGLAND 6 New Zealand 0

Owen Farrell gets his second penalty of the game. The robust defence of England is rewarded as the No 10 kicks them into a six-point lead.

31min: Excellent defence! Lancaster's men are exceptionally well organised. They are so well disciplined and force a knock-on from the All Blacks. I didn't expect this at all!

30min: New Zealand are out of sorts, but England are defending brilliantly. Dan Cole shunts his way through the pack to fairly dispossess the All Blacks. But the ball comes straight back at them… it's all hands on deck now!

27min: MISS! New Zealand should be level! Dan Carter has missed his second attempt too! Ben Morgan gives away a needless penalty and it should be 3-3 but Carter fades it wide of the left post. Awful effort for a man of his standing in the sport. England won't be complaining, of course.

Gotcha: Joe Launchbury takes the ball

Gotcha: Joe Launchbury takes the ball

26min: PENALTY! ENGLAND 3 New Zealand 0

Yes he can. The No 10 has been quite in play so far, but he held his nerve and kicks over the posts with ease. It was a much harder kick than Carter's too!

25min: England are way on top at the moment! Ben Morgan and Alex Goode show exceptional hand speed to manouvre the ball over to Ashton. England have a penalty at a tight angle! Can Farrell bag this one…

23min: What did I say about rattling Aaron Smith He dwells on the ball for eons and is charged down when he tries to kick.

22min: That was soft by England. They were driving the ball in an advanced position but didn't get the ball out in time. The referee warns them to 'use it now!' but no one gets it out. Penalty to New Zealand.

Up for it Piri Weepu during the Haka

Up for it Piri Weepu during the Haka

20min: Ben Youngs just roughed up Aaron Smith after play had stopped. Not to advocate foul play, but that may not be a bad idea to get under his skin a little.

Moments later, England have a penalty at the scrum.

18min: England are enjoying more of the ball now. New Zealand are making a few mistakes which is unlike them.

Lancaster will want his team to strike soon because he won't expect the All Blacks to be below par for the entire 80 minutes.

16min: MISS! Dan Carter misses his first penalty attempt of the Test. It's pretty far out but it is under the posts. He'll be disappointed with that. Boos ring around the ground for Carter. Not sure if that's necessary at all.

13min: Brown almost makes a breakaway. New Zealand finally get some ball going but McCaw, of all people, gives a loose pass which the wing latches onto.

He can't quite control it to break away though, and knocks it on. We've got a scrum now.

11min: It's pretty scrappy so far. A few needless penalties from either side.

But this will suit England for now. They'll be happy in the scrum and will look to drive before making the breakaway.

10min: England are forced into some defending now, but they are making New Zealand work.

In the end, the All Blacks uncharacteristically show some impatience and Jane gives away the penalty.

7min: There's some great pressure from England. Again it's Brown who takes the initiative. He charges down Israel Dagg who is forced into an ugly kick – handing England possession. Great start.

6min: Brilliant effort from Mike Brown on the left wing. He pulls away from two All Blacks players near his own try line.

Cory Jane was left in his wake and Farrell is able to clear any danger.

4min: It's a promising start from England though. The crowd are rampant and you can't help feeling these Lancaster's players are going to need that if they are to come out on top.

2min: It's early days but Farrell and Goode have already kicked a couple of duds. Both efforts were no way near hitting the turf and were gobbled up by the New Zealand backs.

KICK-OFF! The match is under way

14.32: England players are now standing with their arms linked staring down the All Blacks players as they perform the Haka.

Manu Tuilagi has a smile on his face as he eyeballs Dan Carter and Co. England's players were backed up by the partisan crowd singing loudly, drowning out the Haka.

14.31: The English national anthem God Save The Queen rings around Twickenham! What an atmosphere. Can Robshaw's men get an upset, or will the All Blacks cruise to another win.

14.29: That's interesting! Chris Robshaw's partner Camilla Kerslake is leading New Zealand's national anthem!

Her father is a New Zealander I suppose…

14.27: England are wearing purple tracksuit tops, but luckily we're clad in traditional white again. Let's hope it's a good omen.

Intimidating: New Zealand perform the Haka

Intimidating: New Zealand perform the Haka

14.25: The atmosphere is building with the stands filling up. The teams are about to come out of the tunnel before the anthems, the Haka, and some top class rugby.

14.23: We're a few moments away from a big, big test for this England team. Barring the expected win against Fiji, the loss to a vulnerable Australia would have hurt Lancaster, Robshaw and Co.

But a win against the mighty All Blacks would change their perspective a little.

14.16: The captains of both sides will be looking to put in a sensational performance this afternoon.

Chris Robshaw had a tough call to make at the end of the Springboks' visit to Twickenham, and wound up making the wrong one.

The fearsome Richie McCaw wants to go off and rest his body and mind for six months. Before that, he'll be looking to leave England's Test series in tatters.

Speaking of McCaw, Ma'a Nonu described his captain as a 'superhero' because of his incredible talent and leadership. He's good, Ma'a, but that may be going a little too far.

14.13: The Test starts in just over 15 minutes. Before that we can look forward to one of the great sights in any sport: the Haka. Coming eyeball to eyeball with that must be daunting for youngsters like Owen Farrell and Ben Youngs.

Let's hope they rise to the challenge!

14.05: So can this young England side pull it off The current crop of All Blacks players have been touted as the best team they have ever produced, but recent results aside, England haven't been too shabby under Stuart Lancaster.

They have the home crowd, the hunger to make their mark, and world class players like Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi to rely on.

Former New Zealand international Sean Fitzpatrick told Sportsmail why he thinks the All Blacks will take this one by 15 points. Let's hope he's wrong.

Warm welcome: Ma'a Nonu arrives at Twickenham

Warm welcome: Ma'a Nonu arrives at Twickenham

Ready Stuart Lancaster leads his team to take on New Zealand

Ready Stuart Lancaster leads his team to take on New Zealand

14.00: Not to worry anyone. But Dan Carter has a more than impressive record against England.

The No 10 has played nine and won nine. He's simply a joy to watch and has an incredible understanding of the game.

Far from being a one-man team. All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is planning a six-month sabbatical after this Test. The most capped New Zealand captain ever will surely be looking to go out with a bang. We have been warned.

Eyes on the prize: This young All Blacks fan awaits the world champions at Twickenham

Eyes on the prize: This young All Blacks fan awaits the world champions at Twickenham

Come on England: Fans enjoy refreshments before the game

Come on England: Fans enjoy refreshments before the game

13.55: There really aren't any easy games when you get to Test level rugby, but this is going to be tough for England.

Disappointing performances against Australia and more recently South Africa have come under pretty intense scrutiny. Now is the final chance in the series for Stuart Lancaster's men to prove they can mix it with the big boys.

Who better to fit that bill than the world champions New Zealand

Crunch time: Chris Ashton (left) and Dan Carter (right)

England 15 South Africa 16: Penalty call haunts Red Rose again as fortuitous try seals Springbok win

England 15 South Africa 16: Penalty call haunts Red Rose again as freak try seals Springbok win

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UPDATED:

17:03 GMT, 24 November 2012

England's autumn is beginning to look as bleak as the Twickenham weather after Willem Alberts' fortunate try earned South Africa victory.

Stuart Lancaster's men now head into next weekend's appointment with world champions New Zealand on the back of narrow defeats at home to Australia and the Springboks.

England competed every step of the way with South Africa, matching the Springboks for intensity and desire and they battled back from 16-6 down with real heart.

Crucial score: Willem Alberts goes over the line for the only try of the game despite the attentions of Joe Launchbury

Crucial score: Willem Alberts goes over the line for the only try of the game despite the attentions of Joe Launchbury

They were the better team,
particularly in the second half when Owen Farrell came on, but their
undoing was a slice of bad luck just after the interval.

When Ben Youngs' hacked clearance
rebounded off JP Pietersen, the ball fell to Alberts who scored rugby's
equivalent of an open goal.

Farrell added three penalties to the
two struck by Toby Flood as England battled all the way to the death.
Lancaster will be encouraged by those qualities.

Family affair: Tom Youngs (left) attempts to intervene as Eben Etzebeth grapples with brother Ben

Family affair: Tom Youngs (left) attempts to intervene as Eben Etzebeth grapples with brother Ben

But assistant coach Graham Rowntree
himself said he was sick of talking about lessons learned and England,
despite Alberts' fortunate try, could have won the game.

Flood missed two first-half penalties
and again the spotlight will fall on a decision made by captain Chris
Robshaw when England were awarded a kickable penalty with just over a
minute remaining.

Last week, England were criticised
for not taking their points. Today, Robshaw changed his mind having
initially told Farrell to kick for touch.

Hands up: Chris Robshaw is closed down by Adriaan Strauss (left) and Francois Louw

Hands up: Chris Robshaw is closed down by Adriaan Strauss (left) and Francois Louw

Farrell slotted the penalty, but
England could not gather the restart and South Africa held on to extend
their unbeaten run in this fixture to 11 matches, dating back to 2006.

England had drawn heart from their 14-14 draw with South Africa in the third Test of the summer tour. Those lessons Rowntree referred to included the need to match the Springbok physicality.

Joe Launchbury was given his first international start while Alex Corbisiero, Tom Wood and Ben Morgan were brought back to bring some steel into the England pack. They all delivered.

Running free: Alex Goode breaks away from the clutches of Jannie du Plessis

Running free: Alex Goode breaks away from the clutches of Jannie du Plessis

Youngs justified Lancaster's decision
to promote him into the starting side with a clever display at
scrum-half, as did Mike Brown on the wing.

England reprised their tour tactic of
using two full-backs and the grim, wet conditions meant this was always
going to be an arm-wrestle in the rain at Twickenham.

England had to display their intent
from the outset and did, with Geoff Parling blocking Ruan Pienaar's box
kick and Robshaw pounced on Patrick Lambie to win the penalty.

Breaking away: Manu Tuilagi skips past Jean de Villiers

Breaking away: Manu Tuilagi skips past Jean de Villiers

Flood missed his shot at goal but England kept the pressure on as Brown claimed a confident high ball and escaped two defenders.

Parling and Morgan both piled forward
as England drove within five metres of the Springbok line. Chris Ashton
was wrapped up but England won a second penalty shot at goal for offside
and this time Flood made no mistake with the boot.

England defended resolutely when Flood
lost the ball as he tried to run from deep but Eben Etzebeth stole a
lineout and the Springboks earned a penalty which Lambie converted.

Clearing his lines: Ben Youngs gets a kick away despite the attentions of Duane Vermeulen

Clearing his lines: Ben Youngs gets a kick away despite the attentions of Duane Vermeulen

Flood returned from a brief spell in
the blood-bin to exchange penalties with Lambie but then missed a second
penalty shot at goal, earned by a strong England scrum.

Morgan crashed holes in the Springbok
defensive line but England could not capitalise and Lambie edged the
Springboks ahead for the first time in the match.

England came searing out of a scrappy
passage of play, dominated by the boot and some poor kick-chasing, with a
clean break from Alex Goode onto a clever ball from Ben Youngs.

Locked up: Joe Launchbury is tackled by Gurthro Steenkamp and Duane Vermeulen

Locked up: Joe Launchbury is tackled by Gurthro Steenkamp and Duane Vermeulen

But Flood's kick in behind skipped
dead in goal before Manu Tuilagi could get to it and England then wasted
a five-on-three overlap.

Just after the restart, South Africa extended their 9-6 half-time lead in a bizarre circumstances.
When Juande Kruger lost control as he
drove for the line, Ben Youngs tried to hack the ball clear but it
crashed into JP Pietersen.

The ball rebounded towards Morgan, who
could not gather it on his own line and Springboks flanker Alberts
pounced to score a try that was converted by Lambie.

Lancaster reacted to England falling 10 points down by sending on Farrell for Flood and they raised the intensity.

Off-balance: Toby Flood (front) and Ben Morgan get to grips with JP Pietersen

Off-balance: Toby Flood (front) and Ben Morgan get to grips with JP Pietersen

JP Pietersen could not take an
excellent box-kick from Ben Youngs and Morgan spread the play wide for
Tuilagi, who crashed through the South African defence.

A mistake from Farrell put England on
the back foot but they came storming out of defence with an interception
from Tuilagi inside his own 22.

Tuilagi powered downfield and then fed
Ashton but a poor pass to Brown, who should have come closer, checked
England's momentum and a promising move ended when Launchbury knocked
on.

Mixed fortunes: England were inconsistent in the line-out

Mixed fortunes: England were inconsistent in the line-out

England kept piling on the pressure,
helped by some poor South African kicking. Mako Vunipola crashed into
the Springbok 22 and England won another penalty when Francois Louw came
in off his feet.

Farrell converted it and then booted
England back into South African territory but again the Twickenham crowd
were left frustrated as Ashton knocked the ball forward.

England came again and, with a minute
remaining, earned the kickable penalty which Robshaw, eventually,
instructed Farrell to kick for goal.

England rugby players pose for Canterbury and Movember

Twickenham time machine! Can you recognise the England rugby stars behind the vintage gear and fake moustaches

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UPDATED:

16:58 GMT, 15 November 2012

Movember has been taking the world of rugby by storm once again this month – but nobody expected it to come to this.

England stars David Wilson, Brad Barritt, Joe Marler and Thomas Waldrom, James Haskell, Ben Youngs and Geoff Parling have been showing the new 1871 collection by Canterbury – and worn accompanying moustaches to boot. (Well, all except Marler that is!)

The name for the limited edition collection derives from the year that the RFU was inaugurated. It draws upon the history of the England kit and features a version of the famous red rose emblem inspired by the very first England shirts back in 1871.

Hats off: England rugby stars wearing the new '1871' collection from Canterbury

Hats off: England rugby stars wearing the new '1871' collection from Canterbury (Top row left to right: David Wilson, Brad Barritt, Joe Marler and Thomas Waldrom. Bottom row: James Haskell, Ben Youngs, Geoff Parling)

On Thursday Stuart Lancaster named his side for the Saturday's Test match against Australia and Chris Ashton's inclusion on the right wing, with Charlie Sharples switching to the left in place of Ugo Monye, is the only change to the side that beat Fiji 54-12 last week

The Saracens wing missed England's opening QBE autumn Test through suspension – but he returns to face the Wallabies, against whom he has scored three tries in three Tests.

Style icon: Second row Geoff Parling poses in the Canterbury gear

Style icon: Second row Geoff Parling poses in the Canterbury gear

Ashton scored his first Test try in England's 21-20 victory in Sydney on the 2010 summer tour and he touched down twice in a record 35-18 win at Twickenham the following autumn.

The second of those efforts, finished by Ashton after England launched a counter-attack from behind their own line, has gone down in the annals as one of the great Twickenham tries.

Ashton is England's most potent attacking threat and he will consider a game against the injury-hit Wallabies as the perfect opportunity to break his international try duck for 2012.

High ball: England winger Chris Ashton shields an aerial delivery in training

High ball: England winger Chris Ashton shields an aerial delivery in training

Lancaster said: 'We were pleased with lots of aspects of our performance last week, but we know we need to improve this week and, by having some consistency in selection, we allow those players to demonstrate we can step up to the next level against what will be a very tough Australian side.'

Lancaster will be interested to see how Alex Goode fares at full-back against the Wallabies after an impressive showing against Fiji.

'He's a great footballer and he provides us with extra organisation in our backline. He's a great communicator with the backs and he has the ability to move defenders around and make breaks himself,' Lancaster said. 'It's a step up for him but he's playing well at the moment.'

Goode to talk: Full back Alex (left) gets ready for the Wallabies with a chat with Danny Care and Chris Ashton (right)

Goode to talk: Full back Alex (left) gets ready for the Wallabies with a chat with Danny Care and Chris Ashton (right)

Lancaster plans to keep faith with the back row from the Fiji match so Tom Wood will begin on the replacements' bench.

'The back row played well at the weekend. Tom Wood was good when he came off the bench but we want to give them another shot this week,' he explained.

On the potential for an Australia backlash after their Paris defeat, Lancaster added: 'We will need to step up and our training this week has reflected that. The Aussies will have done a lot of work on their own performance this week after losing against the French.

'But the game before that they pushed the All Blacks to 18-18 and they are a very experienced side who have played some very good rugby over the last six months.'

Chris Ashton back for England against Australia

Ashton the only change as winger returns for England against Australia

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UPDATED:

10:20 GMT, 15 November 2012

Chris Ashton will return to the international stage against Australia on Saturday after his one-match ban which ruled him out of England's opening autumn Test against Fiji.

The recall of the explosive Saracens wing is the only change in an England team who are looking to continue winning ways after defeating Fiji last Saturday, 54-12.

As reported by Sportsmail this morning, Ashton takes over in his normal position of right wing while Gloucester's Charlie Sharples, who scored two tries against Fiji, moves to the left flank in place of Ugo Monye.

Welcome back: Chris Ashton is named in the England XV to face the Aussies at Twickenham

Welcome back: Chris Ashton is named in the England XV to face the Aussies at Twickenham

England team v Australia

Goode (Saracens); Ashton (Saracens),
Tuilagi (Leicester), Barritt (Saracens), Sharples (Gloucester); Flood
(Leicester), Care (Harlequins); Marler (Harlequins), Tom Youngs
(Leicester), Cole (Leicester), Palmer (Wasps), Parling (Wasps), Johnson
(Exeter), Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Waldrom (Leicester)

Subs: Paice
(London Irish), Wilson (Bath), Vunipola (Saracens), Launchbury (Wasps),
Wood (Northampton), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Farrell (Saracens), Brown
(Harlequins)

Ashton missed the Fiji match because of a ban imposed after he collected three yellow cards for dangerous play since the start of the season in Premiership games for Saracens.

The third came last month in his first return to Northampton, his former club, since he left for Saracens last summer.

His poor disciplinary record has brought a rebuke from head coach Stuart Lancaster this week that he must improve his tackling technique.

Lancaster stressed in announcing his team on Thursday that his coaching team had thought long and hard before deciding on making just one change.

He explained: 'To select 23 from a squad of 30 plus who have trained so well, with such intensity and focus, was difficult but it's a good position to be in.

'The 'team first' mentality of all our squad has impressed us greatly. We were pleased with lots of aspects of our performance last week.

On the move: Charlie Sharples switches to the left after scoring two tries against Fiji

On the move: Charlie Sharples switches to the left after scoring two tries against Fiji

'But we know we need to improve this week and, by having some consistency in selection, we allow those players to demonstrate we can step up to the next level against what will be a very tough Australian side.'

Lancaster hopes the expected capacity crowd of 82,000 will get behind England again.

'The crowd at Twickenham last week were brilliant and we can't wait to get back there and take part in what I am sure will be a very exciting Test match.'addCustomPlayer('heicdtovt78m17bvybbez1kgu', '', '', 636, 480, 'perfheicdtovt78m17bvybbez1kgu', 'eplayer16');

If Australia get the jump on England we"ll be in trouble – Ben Kay

If Wallabies get the jump on us – we'll be in trouble

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UPDATED:

23:25 GMT, 11 November 2012

England should be quite satisfied with their performance, but Stuart Lancaster will know that if his team start as poorly against Australia as they did against Fiji they could be in big trouble.

In the first 20 minutes on Saturday, their skill levels were down. The passing lacked accuracy. They will have to improve for this next game or they will be punished.

After being thrashed by France, Australia will be determined to front up physically at Twickenham and prove that was just a blip. But if England can blitz them early on and gain the upper hand, then they can create doubt in the Wallabies’ minds. Hit them hard from the first minute and they could be on their knees very quickly, so Lancaster’s side have to start so much better or they will miss the chance to harness that psychological advantage.

Rising high: England lock Geoff Parling (centre) jumps to catch the ball during a lineout against Fiji

Rising high: England lock Geoff Parling (centre) jumps to catch the ball during a lineout against Fiji

Tom Youngs had a fantastic debut on Saturday. There had been so much focus on his line-out throwing but that was 100 per cent accurate. He settled really well, was destructive as a carrier around the field and will take real confidence from that performance.

England’s scrum and line-out drives were good and that allowed them to shorten Fiji’s defensive line and attack around the outside. Danny Care really geed up the players around him and kept his team attacking on the front foot. He was unlucky with the yellow card and really looked like he was trying to put down a marker. He put real pace on the game.

Charlie Sharples did really well on the wing, so Lancaster has a selection dilemma now, with Chris Ashton back in contention. If it comes down to a straight choice between him and Sharples on the right, I would start Sharples and put Ashton on the bench. The coaches would have the excuse that, after missing a game, Ashton has to force his way back in.

Injection of pace: England scrum-half Danny Care (second left) got his forwards geed up and his backs going

Injection of pace: England scrum-half Danny Care (second left) got his forwards geed up and his backs going

They can’t drop Sharples after that display. I’m not saying he is suddenly England’s No 1 winger, but he deserves to carry on and it would make Ashton hungry to claim his place back. They might both end up starting, as Ugo Monye didn’t have a bad game but he threw a loose pass which led to Fiji’s first try, so that could count against him.

Having had the good fortune to play Fiji first up in a game that effectively acted as a training run, there’s no point ruining the benefit by chopping and changing too much. I don’t think the guys trying to get back into the team are necessarily far better than those who started against Fiji anyway. For instance, at loosehead prop, it is now a close call between Joe Marler and Alex Corbisiero.

Whatever line-up Lancaster sends out next weekend, they have to start well — that is the key to building on this encouraging win.

Dan Cole England most experience front row forward

EXCLUSIVE: Prop idol Cole has had to learn fast to lead England from the front

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UPDATED:

12:55 GMT, 9 November 2012

Just 21 months on from his international debut and Leicester prop Dan Cole already finds himself the most experienced man in England's front row as they prepare to face Fiji on Saturday.

A knee injury to first-choice hooker and captaincy candidate Dylan Hartley means that Cole leads a front row from tighthead alongside Hartley's replacement Tom Youngs and loosehead Joe Marler – the pair have just three caps between them, all belonging to Marler.

When asked if it was strange to be the most experienced front row forward in England's side, Cole admitted: 'It is a bit, it's not long ago I made my debut.

Prop idol: Tighthead Cole (left) messes around in training with loosehead Joe Marler

Prop idol: Tighthead Cole (left) messes around in training with loosehead Joe Marler

'Obviously now with Dylan out injured, Tom Youngs and David Paice (reserve hooker) are stepping in, whereas before I had a lot of experience around me in the hooker position with the likes of Steve Thompson and Mearsy (Lee Mears), but they have gone.

'In the loosehead position before we had people like Andrew Sheridan but now we have got Marler and Mako (Vunipola), so it is interesting for me how it has turned around so quickly.

'But we're all of a similar age and hopefully we can all go forward together.'

Cole's rise to senior squad member is symptomatic of the faith head coach Stuart Lancaster's has shown in youth since taking on the job, initially in an interim role, at the turn of the year.

Only one of England's starting XV on Saturday is the wrong side of 30 and with 31 caps to his name 25-year-old Cole, by no means a veteran, has more international appearances under his belt than all of his team-mates excluding just Toby Flood (50) and Tom Palmer (37).

The young ones: Cole, Marler and Tom Youngs (centre) are England's youngest three starting forwards for Saturday

The young ones: Cole, Marler and Tom Youngs (centre) are England's youngest three starting forwards for Saturday

But as part of what Cole desribes as 'going forward together', both literally and metaphorically, Lancaster has not placed an extra responsibility on the prop's huge shoulders.

'I don't think it's about passing on experience so much, it's just about helping each other out,' Cole explains.

'The guys have played big games in the Heineken Cup and everything else so they know the score.

'They know that internationals are a step up and in the squad we talk about stuff and how we can win games.

'But it's not like I've sat them down and put my arm around them all and talked about my international experience, because you have got to learn from the experience yourself and enjoy it yourself.

Missing: Both Hartley (centre) and regular loosehead Alex Corbisiero (right) are unavailable

Missing: Both Hartley (centre) and regular loosehead Alex Corbisiero (right) are unavailable

'But the squad are open and we help each other out any way we can.'

Next, we move our conversation on to the scrum, and Cole's tone visibly lifts as we enter his area of expertise.

Since his international debut against Wales in the 2010 Six Nations, Cole has quickly established a reputation as one of the best set-piece operators in world rugby.

But he is well aware of the challenges that lay ahead for him and England's young scrummaging outfit against the nous and experience of the 'big three' – particularly renowned scrummagers South Africa and New Zealand.

'These teams are the best in the world, so you want to put yourself up against the best packs in the world and the best scrummagers in the world and try and do better than them,' enthuses Cole.

Last time out: Cole played all three Tests as England were beaten 2-0 in South Africa

Last time out: Cole played all three Tests as England were beaten 2-0 in South Africa

'Benn Robinson (of Australia) is a very good loosehead, then there's the Beast (South Africa's Tendai Mtawarira), he's the biggest of the looseheads we'll be playing against. Then there's Tony Woodcock for New Zealand – the Kiwis are very good at what they do.'

It has been argued by some that the art of scrummaging is dying out, but this is not something that Cole agrees with, although he admits the goalposts have been moved.

'It has to evolve and adapt,' said Cole. 'The game moves on, the game evolves and that's what scrummages do.

'Guys from 20 years ago wouldn't be able to play with how it is now, and 20 years from now we wouldn't be able to play.

'The game evolves and the game grows and you have got to make the best of what you have got now.

The Beast: Cole is likely to come up against Tendai Mtawarira

The Beast: Cole is likely to come up against Tendai Mtawarira

'Scrummaging is perhaps not as power-based now, there is less emphasis on the engage now, but the scrummages are still there and are still a big part of the game.'

Despite all the talk of wanting to operate in a more adventurous way against the big three, England are surely hoping that the set-piece will play a big part against Fiji.

The exciting Fijians have many facets to their game, but they are far from fearful scrummagers and Cole knows that he, Marler and Youngs – England's youngest three starting forwards on Saturday – have a big role to play.

'Fiji probably aren't renowned for being the world's greatest scrummagers, and it is a big part of the English game,' admitted Cole.

'We've got big guys who will want to push and get stuck into the set-piece and if we get that right we'll have a good chance of winning the game.'

If Cole is at his scrummaging best on Saturday, it is hard to see how Fiji will stop England building the platform they need for victory.

O2 Inside Line – the behind-the-scenes show from inside the England camp – re-launches on November 8th. To receive email alerts on each show visit www.O2InsideLine.com

How Tom Youngs "transformed" from a centre into an England hooker

How Leicester's Youngs 'transformed' from a struggling centre into an England hooker

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 7 November 2012

Tom Youngs had just finished displaying his fighting qualities – quite literally – when Heyneke Meyer, now coach of the Springboks, made the radical suggestion which would change his career.

The 25-year-old will be included in the England team to face Fiji in the opening QBE International at Twickenham on Saturday.

His name will appear at hooker, but three years ago he was a centre trying to break into the Leicester first team.

Fledgling: Tom Youngs has transformed from a struggling centre to an England hooker

Fledgling: Tom Youngs has transformed from a struggling centre to an England hooker

Meyer had taken charge of the Tigers and the sight of Youngs trading blows with an opposition prop convinced the South African that his future lay in the front row, not in midfield.

'Heyneke was the one who suggested the change,' said Tom, whose brother, scrum-half Ben, will be among the England replacements on Saturday.

'I captained the second team against Saracens and got in a massive brawl. He came up to me and said, “I think you've got what it takes to play in the front row. I want to make you a hooker”.

'He told me to have a think about it, but I had already made my decision and I told him that I wouldn't mind giving it a go.'

And so began what Youngs refers to as the 'transformation'.

He went on a crash course of heavy weight training in the gym, while hurriedly learning about throwing in at lineouts and the murky world of the scrum.

'It was a culture shock,' he said, at the launch of O2 Inside Line, the behind-the-scenes show from inside the England camp.

Competition: David Paice (left) is keeping a close eye on fellow hooker Youngs (right) in training on Wednesday

Competition: David Paice (left) is keeping a close eye on fellow hooker Youngs (right) in training on Wednesday

Join me: Tom's brother, Ben, had already broken into the England setup

Join me: Tom's brother, Ben, had already broken into the England setup

'I remember my first scrum – it was in a second-team game against Gloucester at Welford Road. I ran on and Coley (Dan Cole) was there to talk me through it.

'I just fired in and pushed as hard as I could. Then I gradually learned the technical bits after that.'

Youngs needed somewhere away from the Premiership to hone his new craft and bang on cue, Nottingham called the Tigers to ask if they could borrow a hooker.

Richard Cockerill sent him off as a raw apprentice and he returned as a promising front-row forward.

But it was a painful education.

'My first 80 minutes at hooker was for Nottingham, against Leicester,' said Youngs.

'Their front row was Castro (Martin Castrogiovanni), Mefin Davies and Marcos Ayerza.

'The Leicester conditioner said to me after the game that I looked like I fatigued really badly and was not running nicely. I said, “I can hardly hold my neck up, that's why!”.

'I took painkillers for the rest of the week. I was in agony! But slowly I got used to it.'

Historic: Tom (left) and Ben (right) will be only the third brothers to play for England together since the war

Historic: Tom (left) and Ben (right) will be only the third brothers to play for England together since the war

During that period, when he was finding his feet in a new position in the Championship, Ben had surged into the England team.

'I was immensely proud when Ben started playing for England,' he said. 'I would come down on a Saturday to see him play at Twickenham, then play for Nottingham on the Sunday.

'Now my family are really excited at the prospect of us playing together at Twickenham.

'We played together in the back garden, with all my cousins and they are over the moon for me.'

One of the reasons Tom has made it this far is that he has learned – with help from RFU psychologist Matt Thombs – how to cope with the inevitability of making mistakes.

'I was a bit like a headless chicken,' he said. 'If I threw a “not straight” I would run into a ruck from the side and give away a penalty.

'I didn't know how to control those emotions, but Matt has helped.

'Everyone misses a lineout, everyone misses a kick. It just happens.'

What doesn't just happen is a transformation from centre to hooker, a remarkable triumph of dedication.

The reward comes at Twickenham on Saturday.