Six Nations: Haskell and Cole in England squad to play Wales
England’s Dan Cole is set to make his first appearance for his country in over a year, with the tight-head prop returning to face Wales, in the Six Nations opener.
There is also a new partnership at centre, with Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph named, while James Haskell will feature on the blind-side flank .
It is a potentially exciting line-up for England, full of youth and exuberance with Anthony Watson, Joseph, George Ford, Dave Attwood and George Kruis, debuting in their first Six Nations match.
“Jonathan [Joseph] has been one of the form centres in the country,” said head coach Stuart Lancaster, following his squad announcement. “He and Luther [Burrell] have trained well together and this is a big opportunity for both of them.”
Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter, who have been recalled to the squad after a considerable time out, will both start on the bench against Wales. Lancaster has been unable to name Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, David Wilson, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and Ben Morgan, though, who are all out injured.
“We’ve had to make some tight calls but we are excited about the side selected for what will be big challenge,” said Lancaster on his selection.
“Billy Vunipola has been playing well for Saracens and it’s good to be able to give George Kruis his first international start after his impressive run off the bench in November,” he continued.
“[Dan] Cole and [James] Haskell bring a lot of experience, as do the bench, and their contribution will be crucial on Friday night.”
England team to face Wales:
Mike Brown (Harlequins); Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby); George Ford (Bath Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); Joe Marler (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), George Kruis (Saracens), James Haskell (Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Replacements: Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)