ENGLAND head coach Stuart Lancaster believes his side will benefit from an injection of know-how when they bid to resurrect their Six Nations title hopes against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday.
Second row Courtney Lawes has been recalled to the starting XV in place of George Kruis after recovering from an ankle problem and is set to make his first Test start since November against Australia.
Full-back Mike Brown also returns at the expense of Alex Goode, having missed the Red Rose’s potentially championship-ending defeat to Ireland in Dublin on 1 March.
Saracens duo Kruis and Goode have been ditched from the matchday squad altogether as forwards Kieran Brookes, Geoff Parling and Tom Wood are named amongst the replacements.
“I think there’s a collective level of experience that we’ve brought in, not just with Courtney but with Geoff Parling on the bench,” said Lancaster
“Courtney was fantastic for us in the November internationals with his presence around the field, but also his presence in the set-piece now is big for us. Alex Goode is understandably disappointed but I think it’s the right time to bring Mike back into this game. He’s chomping at the bit.”
England are likely to have to beat Scotland and France to have any chance of landing a first Six Nations crown since 2011, all the time hoping that Ireland lose to either Wales or Scotland in their remaining fixtures.
M. Brown, A. Watson, J. Joseph, L. Burrell, J. Nowell, G. Ford, B. Youngs; J. Marler, D. Hartley, D. Cole, D. Attwood, C. Lawes, J. Haskell, C. Robshaw (Captain), B. Vunipola
Repacements: T. Youngs, M. Vunipola, K. Brookes, G. Parling, T. Wood, R. Wigglesworth, D. Cirpriani, B. Twelvetrees