Rookie Ford in line for England debut

The Bath playmaker has not been picked on the bench for either of England’s opening two Six Nations games but will be named as Owen Farrell’s understudy by Stuart Lancaster tomorrow.

Ford proved his case to Lancaster with a man-of-the-match performance for Bath against Exeter last weekend and England backs coach Andy Farrell believes he is ready to seize his chance.

“George knows all the plays and knows our systems, kicking-wise, attacking-wise, exit-wise, defensively,” said Farrell.

“He’s comfortable with all that now and when you get that you can start being yourself and bring your game to the party as well. We feel George and Anthony (Watson, the wing) are comfortable within their own skin and this set-up and that’s the big thing. If he is to be good for England he definitely should (put pressure on Owen Farrell for his place). They are two good players who know each other’s game inside out. We talk about rivalry within these four walls but as far as they’re concerned they’ve been best mates for a long time. If they sit down and think about it they’ve both helped each other get to where they’re at.”

Ford replaces Brad Barritt, with the only other change coming at tighthead prop where David Wilson will replace the injured Dan Cole despite only playing 47 minutes of rugby after a spell out with a calf injury.

ENGLAND: 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 Wilson (Bath); J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton); T Wood (Northampton), B Vunipola (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins. Capt).

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

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