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Simmonds starts for England as Dombrandt makes bench for Ireland game

Jamie George and Joe Marchant have also come into Eddie Jones’ starting XV.

Sam Simmonds starts at number eight.
Sam Simmonds starts at number eight.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

EXETER’S SAM SIMMONDS will start at number eight for England against Ireland in the Six Nations on Saturday, with Alex Dombrandt only deemed fit to feature off the bench.

Dombrandt has been isolating in recent days due to a positive Covid-19 test last Friday and while he will be involved this weekend, England boss Eddie Jones has opted to start Simmonds at number eight for the clash at Twickenham.

Meanwhile, openside flanker Tom Curry has been passed fit to start after completing his return-to-play protocols following a head injury, with captain Courtney Lawes completing the starting back row.

England have made two other changes to their starting XV, with Jamie George coming in at hooker in place of the injured Luke Cowan-Dickie. Joe Marchant replaces Elliot Daly in the number 13 shirt.

24-year-old scrum-half Harry Randall continues at scrum-half ahead of Ben Youngs and is partnered in the halfbacks by Marcus Smith.

Joe Launchbury comes onto the England bench for what is set to be his first Test appearance since December 2020, while five-times capped hooker Jamie Blamire is also among the replacements.

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England (v Ireland)

  • 15. Freddie Steward
  • 14. Max Malins
  • 13. Joe Marchant
  • 12. Henry Slade
  • 11. Jack Nowell
  • 10. Marcus Smith
  • 9. Harry Randall
  • 1. Ellis Genge
  • 2. Jamie George
  • 3. Kyle Sinckler
  • 4. Maro Itoje
  • 5. Charlie Ewels
  • 6. Courtney Lawes (captain)
  • 7. Tom Curry
  • 8. Sam Simmonds

Replacements:

  • 16. Jamie Blamire
  • 17. Joe Marler
  • 18. Will Stuart
  • 19. Joe Launchbury
  • 20. Alex Dombrandt
  • 21. Ben Youngs
  • 22. George Ford
  • 23. Elliot Daly

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