Saints trio start again as England name unchanged team to face Wales

Alex Mitchell (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Alex Mitchell (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Alex Mitchell (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Alex Mitchell, Fraser Dingwall and Tommy Freeman will start for the second time in two Guinness Six Nations matches after England named an unchanged team to face Wales at Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 4.45pm).

The Saints trio were all in the first 15 last weekend as they helped the Red Rose beat Italy 27-24 in Rome.

Alex Coles and Fin Smith came off the bench in that match, and they remain among the replacements this weekend.

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But there is still no place in the matchday 23 for Tom Pearson and George Furbank.

England boss Steve Borthwick makes just one change to the squad this week, with vice-captain Ellis Genge included amongst the replacements having recovered from a foot injury.

And Borthwick said: “It was both pleasing and important to have started our Six Nations campaign in Rome with a victory.

“It was good to have done so in front of so many travelling England supporters.

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“However, we know there are areas of our game to improve as we prepare for this Saturday’s game against a spirited Wales team.

“With a new player group and a number of new caps, we have tried to develop our game on both sides of the ball. Such changes take time, and I was pleased how quickly the players settled and adapted last weekend against Italy.

“We’re delighted to be back playing in front of a sold-out Twickenham Stadium this Saturday. The visit of the Wales team is always a fixture that creates a special atmosphere.

“I have no doubt that this group of players are relishing the challenge before them and are looking forward to creating a very special experience for our supporters.”

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England team to face Wales: 15 Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps); 14 Tommy Freeman (Saints, 4 caps), 13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 58 caps), 12 Fraser Dingwall (Saints, 1 cap), 11 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 65 caps); 10 George Ford (Sale Sharks, 92 caps) – vice captain, 9 Alex Mitchell (Saints, 12 caps); 1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 89 caps), 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 86 caps) – captain, 3 Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 34 caps); 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 77 caps) – vice captain, 5 Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps); 6 Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap), 7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 31 caps), 8 Ben Earl (Saracens, 26 caps).

Replacements: 16 Theo Dan (Saracens, 8 caps), 17 Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 58 caps) – vice captain, 18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 108 caps), 19 Alex Coles (Saints, 4 caps), 20 Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins, 1 cap), 21 Danny Care (Harlequins, 97 caps), 22 Fin Smith (Saints, 1 cap), 23 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap).