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England recall Parling for 6 Nations rugby

Leicester lock Geoff Parling was recalled by England head coach Stuart Lancaster for Saturday’s decisive Six Nations rugby showdown with France at Twickenham.


Parling comes into the second row in place of Dave Attwood, who drops out of the squad, in the only change to the team that overcame Scotland 25-13 last weekend. Harlequins No.8 Nick Easter returns to the bench.

“Geoff did well off the bench against Scotland and, now that he has got some games under his belt, we feel it is the right time to start him and use his experience and quality in the starting line-up,” Lancaster said on Thursday in a statement.

“The same goes for Nick Easter, who has really impressed in camp and in his appearances off the bench. Nick is a quality ball carrier and great defender – things we feel we’ll need in the latter stages of the game.”

Seeking a first Championship success since 2011, England go into the final weekend level on points with Ireland and Wales at the top of the table, but with a points difference advantage of +4 and +25 over their respective pursuers.

Young Stade Francais five-eighth Jules Plisson has been called up for France, with coach Philippe Saint-Andre naming a 16th different halves pairing.

Plisson, 23, comes in for injured first-choice No.10 Camille Lopez, who misses the game at Twickenham due to a knee problem.

With Sebastien Tillous-Borde remaining at halfback, it will be the 16th different halves pairing Saint-Andre has picked in just over three years at the France helm.

In the only other change, Vincent Debaty comes in for Eddy Ben Arous at prop after the latter suffered an injury to his arm.

Remi Tales and Uini Atonio replace Plisson and Debaty on the bench.

France can still win the Six Nations but will need to not only beat England by at least eight points but also hope Ireland lose in Scotland and Wales are beaten in Italy.

Wales play away to Italy on Saturday, while Ireland tackle Scotland in Edinburgh.


Mike Brown; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Luther Burrell, Jack Nowell, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw (capt), James Haskell, Courtney Lawes, Geoff Parling, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler. Res: Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Kieran Brookes, Nick Easter, Tom Wood, Richard Wigglesworth, Danny Cipriani, Billy Twelvetrees.


Scott Spedding, Yoann Huget, Gael Fickou, Maxime Mermoz, Noa Nakaitaci, Jules Plisson, Sebastian Tillous-Borde, Loann Goujon, Bernard Le Roux, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Yoann Maestri, Alexandre Flanquart, Nicolas Mas, Guilhem Guirado, Vincent Debaty. Res: Benjamin Kayser, Rabah Slimani, Uini Atonio, Romain Taofifenua, Damien Chouly, Rory Kockott, Remi Tales, Mathieu Bastareaud.