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Lee Dickson named at scrumhalf for England against Australia

Updated: Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 13:55 | Comments

Lee Dickson gets the nod at scrumhalf for England
Lee Dickson gets the nod at scrumhalf for England

Lee Dickson will start at scrumhalf for England against Australia on Saturday in a fresh-looking side that also includes uncapped centre Joel Tomkins, winger Marlon Yarde and giant number eight Billy Vunipola.
              
Dickson, who started both of England's test wins over Argentina in June, retains the number nine jersey after a scintillating start to the season for Northampton, forcing British and Irish Lions scrumhalf Ben Youngs on to the bench.
              
Rugby league convert Tomkins starts at outside centre alongside Billy Twelvetrees in an exciting midfield combination, somewhat forced upon coach Stuart Lancaster after injury ruled out regular duo Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt.
              
Yarde, who scored two tries against the Pumas in his only previous appearance, has a great chance to nail down the left wing position, while Chris Ashton, revitalised after a summer break, returns to the right.
              
Billy Vunipola, who turns 21 on Sunday, makes his first start after two replacement appearances on the Argentina tour, and will stand proudly alongside brother Maku, starting at loosehead prop in place of the injured Alex Corbisiero.

Lancaster insisted that his preference for Dickson over Youngs was based on form alone.

"Form has always been the over-riding factor for me, but Lee also has a lot of credit in the bank," Lancaster said.

"At the start of the season in a competitive position he's the one who's really shined. It's a competitive position but on form alone he deserves it.

"To be picked for this England team you have to be playing well and that's reflected in the selection."

Lancaster urged Lawes to take the initiative at the line-out after Parling was ruled out of the autumn opener.

"You lose a lot of experience with Geoff and I'm disappointed that he's injured," he said.

"But it's time for Courtney to come in and show his leadership in the line out

"Dave Attwood is match fit and adds ballast and size to our bench."

Tomkins is making his Test debut on Saturday and Lancaster is backing the dual code international to adapt quickly to Test rugby.

"Joel's big-game temperament will shine through on the weekend," he said.
              
England team to play Australia: Mike Brown, Chris Ashton, Joel Tomkins, Billy Twelvetrees, Marlon Yarde, Owen Farrell, Lee Dickson; Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw (captain), Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Maku Vunipola.
              
Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler, Dave Wilson, Dave Attwood, Ben Morgan, Ben Youngs, Toby Flood, Ben Foden   

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