England have selected David Wilson at tighthead prop and named uncapped fly-half George Ford on the bench for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland.
Wilson comes straight into the starting XV to fill the void left by Dan Cole’s season-ending neck injury and Ford takes Brad Barritt’s spot among the replacements.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster confirmed that Cole, who is suffering from a bulging disc that is trapping a nerve, will be rested for three months before being reassessed.
“We have been forced into one change and we wish Dan Cole all the best for his recovery,” Lancaster said.
“However, David Wilson is an experienced international with 31 caps and he showed in his three starts against Argentina last year what he can do.
“It’s great to have George involved. He has settled in well and we are confident in his ability should he get his opportunity from the bench.”
Wilson has played only 47 minutes of rugby in the last two months with that appearance coming in Bath's 27-23 Aviva Premiership victory over Exeter on Saturday.
The 28-year-old suffered a calf injury during a training game in December and his return was further delayed by a tight back.
With replacement tighthead Henry Thomas deemed unready to start a match of this magnitude, however, Wilson has been drafted straight into the front row where he will lock horns with Cian Healy.
Lancaster admitted on Monday that England are “not in an ideal situation” and Wilson himself is unsure how long he will last at Twickenham.
England have beaten Ireland in their last three games together, and will be playing at Twickenham for the first time this year after losing to France in Paris and routing Scotland at Murrayfield.
“We are excited about being back at our home after two games on the road,” Lancaster said.
“The Twickenham crowd during the November internationals was superb and I’m sure it’ll be the same again on Saturday.”
M Brown; J Nowell, L Burrell, B Twelvetrees, J May; O Farrell, D Care; J Marler , D Hartley, D Wilson, J Launchbury, C Lawes, T Wood, C Robshaw (c), B Vunipola.
Replacements: T Youngs, M Vunipola, H Thomas, D Attwood, B Morgan, L Dickson, G Ford, A Goode.