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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 16:17 GMT
England recall Morgan and Worsley
Olly Morgan (L) and Joe Worsley
Both Morgan and Worsley missed the game with Italy last weekend
England have made two changes to the team that defeated Italy last weekend for the Six Nations match against Ireland at Croke Park on 24 February.

Full-back Olly Morgan replaces the injured Iain Balshaw while flanker Joe Worsley returns in place of Nick Easter after recovering from a neck injury.

The changes mean the team is the same as the one that defeated Scotland.

Newcastle say Jonny Wilkinson will be rested this weekend and England now hope other clubs will follow suit.

Head coach Brian Ashton was due to announce the team next week but brought it forward in the hope that the players will be rested by their Premiership clubs this weekend.

England are mainly concerned about the three Sunday games, which will see Bristol, Newcastle, Saracens, Gloucester, Wasps and Sale all taking part.

SIX NATIONS BLOG
BBC Sport's Mark Orlovac

The matches could involve nine of England's starting XV just six days before the Croke Park clash.

England director of elite rugby Rob Andrew will now contact the clubs to try to persuade them to leave out their players.

The clubs, however, are under no contractual obligation to do so.

"We've already had an indication that certain players will be rested, possibly benched," said Andrew.

"And we will look at it on an individual basis and try and release as many of the starting XV as we can.

"The clubs are making huge efforts. Nine of the starting XV against Scotland did not play the previous weekend.

"So there's huge effort going on by the clubs and we fully understand their position. We saw it before the Six Nations started."

Newcastle's decision to rest Wilkinson will put pressure on the other clubs playing on Sunday to do the same with their England stars.

"We believe this is a decision in the best interests of the club and the player," said Falcons director of rugby John Fletcher.

"Jonny has started two tough international matches, taken a lot of bumps and bruises, and we have reached a joint decision.

Whereas Ireland will have two weeks' preparation, England will probably have one and a half

RFU elite rugby director Rob Andrew

"We are in the fortunate position of having two England fly-halves at the club, and both Toby Flood and Mathew Tait will be involved down at Bristol.

"Each player has been taken case by case based on what is best, and for Toby and Mathew we believe playing for their club down at Bristol is the appropriate course of action to take."

Ireland's players will not have played for the two weeks between their defeat by France last Sunday and the England game.

606 DEBATE: What do you think of Ashton's selection?

They are centrally contracted and the Irish Union can decide when they play, with the emphasis on peaking for international matches.

"The England players involved on Sunday won't do a great deal on Monday or Tuesday, will train Wednesday and go to Dublin on Thursday," added Andrew.

"Whereas Ireland will have two weeks' preparation, England will probably have one and a half."

Morgan made his debut against Scotland but lost his place to Gloucester team-mate Balshaw for the Italy contest.

Joe's greater experience at this level means that he is selected

Brian Ashton on Joe Worsley

Balshaw, however, suffered the latest in a long line of injuries during the first half against the Azzurri and came off before half-time.

He is not expected to have recovered from his groin injury in time to make the trip to Dublin.

Wasps blind-side flanker Worsley also had to sit out the Italy game but returns to the side to win his 54th cap.

"I've decided to recall Olly Morgan because I don't expect Iain Balshaw to make a full recovery from his groin injury in time for the game," said Ashton.

"Joe Worsley has recovered from his neck injury and reclaims the number six shirt just ahead of Nick Easter who I thought had a very good debut for England against Italy.

"However, Joe's greater experience at this level means that he is selected."


England: Morgan (Gloucester); Lewsey (Wasps), Tindall (Gloucester), Farrell (Saracens), Robinson (Sale); Wilkinson (Newcastle), Ellis (Leicester); Freshwater (Perpignan), Chuter (Leicester), Vickery (Wasps, capt), Deacon (Leicester), Grewcock (Bath), Worsley (Wasps), Lund (Sale), Corry (Leicester).
Replacements: Mears (Bath), White (Leicester), Palmer (Wasps), Rees (Wasps), Perry (Bristol), Flood (Newcastle), Tait (Newcastle).




SEE ALSO
RFU promises end to England rift
12 Feb 07 |  English
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment
England have work to do - Ashton
10 Feb 07 |  English
England 20-7 Italy
10 Feb 07 |  English
Ireland 17-20 France
11 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
Wales 9-19 Ireland
04 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
England 42-20 Scotland
03 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union


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