sport

Ford set for England debut

George Ford is in line for his England debut after being confirmed as part of Stuart Lancaster's matchday squad for Saturday's clash with Ireland.

The uncapped Bath fly-half will find out if he is picked for his first senior Test on Thursday when Lancaster confirms his final selection, although his likely role is as back-up for Owen Farrell.

His inclusion is the only change from the squad which beat Scotland 20-0 in the Calcutta Cup earlier this month, with Saracens back Brad Barritt the man to miss out.

Along with Barritt, Chris Ashton, Freddie Burns, Kyle Eastmond, Matt Kvesic, Tom Johnson, Matt Mullan, Ed Slater, Anthony Watson and Ben Youngs were released back to their clubs.

Lancaster said: "We feel that the time is right to include George Ford in the matchday squad.

"A full three weeks of training has allowed him the chance to really understand the way we are developing our game and this time has been crucial in order for him to feel confident and ready in a key decision making and leadership position.

"We have successfully integrated and included many young players over the last two years and George is the next exciting talent to make his mark in the senior squad and we are a looking forward to see him develop over the next few months.

"Brad is obviously disappointed to miss out but he is still a key member of our squad and I am sure he will get further opportunities in the future. He hasn't had much game time since his injury and will benefit from some time with Saracens over the next two weeks."

England squad:

Forwards: David Attwood, Dylan Hartley, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw, Henry Thomas, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Tom Wood, Tom Youngs.

Backs: Mike Brown, Luther Burrell, Danny Care, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Alex Goode, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Billy Twelvetrees.