George Ford continues at fly-half as England keep faith with the side that stunned Ireland for their attempt at winning the Guinness Six Nations title.

Head coach Steve Borthwick has made only one enforced changed for the showdown with France in Lyon on Saturday night by choosing Elliot Daly to replace the injured Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.

Feyi-Waboso self-reported concussion symptoms incurred against Ireland, prompting England to stand down their breakout player of the tournament.

Veteran Daly is restored to the left wing in his absence, with Tommy Freeman switching to the number 14 jersey worn by the 21-year Exeter Chief on his first international start.

Manu Tuilagi makes his first appearance of the Six Nations after taking Daly’s place on the bench in what will be his first Test since last autumn’s World Cup bronze medal match, having missed the opening rounds because of a groin problem.

Ford has held off the challenge of Marcus Smith to retain the fly-half duties for the climax to the tournament.

Smith kicked the last-gasp drop goal that sank Ireland 23-22 last Saturday and made a telling contribution off the bench, bring extra zip to England’s attack after Ford had pulled the strings effectively earlier on.

A second change among the replacements sees Ethan Roots replace calf injury victim Chandler Cunningham-South.

England will win the title if Ireland lose to Scotland without claiming a bonus point and they defeat France while securing a bonus point.

“After such a hard-fought win against Ireland last week, we realise how important it is to back that performance up with another similar display in Lyon on Saturday,” Borthwick said.

“France remain one of the very top sides in the world and will pose a great challenge for us.

“We’ve had a great preparation so far this week and there is a genuine sense of anticipation and determination around the camp as we head to what will be an exciting final weekend.”

England wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso has prioritised his health over the prospect of facing France after self-reporting symptoms of concussion.

Attack coach Richard Wigglesworth revealed Feyi-Waboso has been ruled out of the climax to the Guinness Six Nations in Lyon after he became “groggy” in the wake of Saturday’s 23-22 victory over Ireland.

Although the 21-year-old Exeter University medical student finished the match, it was only afterwards that he felt the effects of a possible concussion that cannot be traced to any one incident on the field.


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It means England’s breakout star of the Six Nations will be unable to take part in the bid to snatch Ireland’s title a week after setting Twickenham alight with a dynamic display on his first start.

“Manny felt a bit groggy so he is unfortunately ruled out of the game, but we don’t take any risks with that sort of stuff,” Wigglesworth said.

“He’s obviously gutted but being the smart lad he is, he reported his symptoms. He did the right thing.”

England have chosen not to replace Feyi-Waboso in their 36-man training squad, with Elliot Daly likely to take his place on the wing against France.

Cardiff-born Feyi-Waboso was persuaded to pledge his national allegiance to England by Steve Borthwick in January and both player and coach have been rewarded by his dynamic displays, two of them coming off the bench.

“It had been building for Manny. You have to integrate these players carefully and I think Steve did that well in how he exposed him to Test rugby so he was ready to fly,” Wigglesworth said.

“He played really well, got his hands on the ball and did what we asked him to do and brought his talents.

“It’s very disappointing for him as I know how desperate he was to play again and how much he enjoyed his first start.”

England picked themselves up off the canvas after a disappointing defeat by Scotland in round three to end Ireland’s Grand Slam defence when Marcus Smith kicked a last-gasp drop-goal.

Steve Borthwick’s side had been irked by the avalanche of predictions that they would be routed by the favourites, whose former number eight Jamie Heaslip even said their only chance was if Ireland had one or two players sent off.

England back row Ben Earl stated after the win that “apparently we’re the worst England team ever. We’ve done pretty well for that accolade”, but Wigglesworth admits that defiant rage will only take a team so far.

“Every week is different and as a player, a coaching staff and a team, you use different things and you will tap into different emotions,” he said.

“We want to be obsessed with getting better, we want to keep moving on. What is called a disaster, for us is a learning experience so at the end we are moving the dial in the right direction.

“There are emotional buttons the players want to press themselves but at the core is trying to move our game on, trying to get better, having real clarity on what we are going after so we get better.”

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso has been ordered to go hunting for the ball when he makes his full England debut in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland.

With two replacement appearances in the bank, including a try-scoring cameo against Scotland in round three, the Cardiff-born 21-year-old is considered ready to start on the right wing at the expense of veteran Elliot Daly.

One of the most exciting young talents in the Gallagher Premiership was persuaded by Steve Borthwick to opt for the Red Rose over Wales in January – less than a year after he was playing in the third tier of English rugby for struggling Taunton Titans.


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Now that his rapid development has accelerated with a first Test start, he has been instructed to make his pace, power and work rate count against the Grand Slam champions.

“When I watch Manny, I see his ability to come off the wing and pop up off scrum-half – as he did against Scotland – and pop up inside and outside fly-half,” Borthwick said.

“I have seen him several times pop up in the middle and do a pick and go at the ruck because he wants the ball in his hands. That is the encouragement I have for him – get that ball in his hands.

“After I told him he was starting, he was very grateful and thanked me numerous times then asked me ‘what do you want from me?’.

“I said ‘find the ball and get it in your hands’. There are some nuances, but the message was ‘I want you to get the ball in your hands as many times as possible’.”

Feyi-Waboso missed last week’s training camp in York in order to sit an exam for his medical degree at Exeter University, and Borthwick believes he has the temperament to thrive against Ireland.

“Basically we think he’s one of those people who is good at everything. We’re yet to find something he’s not good at, but we’ll keep trying,” Borthwick said.

“We certainly asked him how his exam went, he said he felt it went OK, which I took as he’d aced it. But we’ll find out in due course when he tells us his results.

“I sense he’s a guy who takes things in his stride. He’s a really calm and composed character. And given everything he’s doing in his life, and what he’s gone through so far, it’s a real strength.

“Each challenge that has been thrown towards him, he’s risen to that level and I expect he’ll do the same again on Saturday.”

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso will make his first start for England in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham.

In an audacious selection by head coach Steve Borthwick, Feyi-Waboso will line-up on the right wing less than a year after playing for National League One side Taunton Titans.

The 21-year-old made his debut off the bench against Italy at the start of the tournament and also came on as a replacement for the round three defeat by Scotland, both appearances totalling 20 minutes.

Apart from scoring a try in his cameo at Murrayfield, the Exeter Chief showed significant promise and is chosen ahead of 67-cap veteran Elliot Daly, who is given the number 23 jersey instead.

Borthwick has made three changes in personnel and one positional switch following the 30-21 mauling in Edinburgh, but there is still no place for Freddie Steward at full-back with George Furbank continuing at 15.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso knew the time to choose between England and Wales would come but not quite so soon.

Less than a year after helping Taunton Titans escape relegation from National League One, the 21-year-old Exeter wing made his Test debut in the Guinness Six Nations.

Whether he would commit to England or Wales became a matter of urgency when he began shredding defences for the Chiefs in his first season in the Gallagher Premiership.


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Born and raised in Cardiff, he qualifies for England through his grandmother, and the tug of war for his allegiance began when he was first called by Steve Borthwick in November.

By January, his mind was made up and he was picked in Borthwick’s squad for the Six Nations with his first cap against Italy following soon after.

“The first conversation I had with Steve was after Northampton away and that wasn’t even a good game for me. That was a terrible game for me!” Feyi-Waboso said.

“He rang me after that and said I’m on his radar. I was really shocked at the call and I kind of thought he was just saying I’m in his mind, but obviously I’m here now.

“It’s always been something to think about. I moved to England. A lot of my family are English.

“My grandmother [Margaret Spence Taylor] is English, lives in Gloucester. My dad [Andrew] is half-English and my mum’s Nigerian.

“As soon as I got into England it was a decision to think about, but I thought it would be a lot further in the future.

“I blocked out a lot of the noise (around the decision). I have a lot of good people around me, like family. They helped my decision and definitely didn’t force my hand. It was definitely my decision.”

Feyi-Waboso’s availability was considered a formality by Wales, but they underestimated the strength of his English ties and determination to study medicine.

Despite being awarded three A stars for his ‘A’ levels, he was unable to secure a place at Cardiff University and having then enrolled at Aston University, the financial collapse of his club Wasps placed him in limbo.

The Chiefs provided him with a new home and a place at Exeter University, where he is able to pursue his true calling.

“I enjoy learning, it’s what I enjoyed even before rugby. If I wasn’t playing rugby, my ideal situation would be just to stay in uni, keep learning, keep going,” he said.

“But obviously being a doctor is a career of constant learning. You don’t really stop. You do five years in uni, then you have two foundation years, then specialise … it’s not boring.

“I feel like learning is now habitual. It’s just something that I really want to do – become a doctor.”

Balancing his medical course with the demands of playing for Exeter and England takes careful planning, and he is being assisted by team doctor Katy Hornby.

“I have an exam in a couple of weeks. So I might have to go back for that, do the exam, then come back to the Six Nations,” he said.

“I also have an exam three days after we come back from France so I’ll be revising. It can be a lot to think about, but you make timetables and you manage – you do manage.

“And there’s a lot of help around – I’m going to do some exam prep with the [RFU] doc.”

Jamie George has urged his England team to put their passion on full display when one of rugby’s great rivalries is renewed at Twickenham on Saturday.

Wales are the opponents in round two of the Guinness Six Nations and new captain George is determined to match their zeal for the jersey when he leads the team out on home soil for the first time.

England are hoping to improve engagement with their supporters through changes to the matchday experience at Twickenham, such as increasing the length of the players’ walk through the crowds from their bus to the changing room.

On their last appearance at the ground in August they were booed off by their own fans having lost to Fiji for the first time in their history in a deflating Rugby World Cup send-off.

George is keen for England to find their own inspiration rather than looking to emulate Celtic fury, but he knows that results will ultimately shape the relationship between team and supporters.

“We don’t want to replicate anything, we want to do things our way. We can build emotion and motivation through different ways,” the Saracens hooker said.

“Something we have talked about a lot as a group is passion and not being afraid to show passion. I’ve certainly been encouraging of that this week.

“If people want to use that passion and emotion, as long as we are controlled and clear about what we are doing rugby-wise, I don’t see why we shouldn’t do that.

“We don’t want to replicate anyone else’s emotion – we are never going to try to do things another team’s way. We want to be authentic.”

England have lost 50 per cent of their Six Nations matches at Twickenham over the last three years as part of a significant period of underachievement in the tournament pre-dating Steve Borthwick’s arrival as head coach.

“First and foremost, we’ve identified that our win rate there hasn’t been good enough. The most intimidating atmospheres come off the back of the most intimidating teams,” George said.

“If we want to be the the type of team we want to be and create an intimidating environment to play in at Twickenham then we have to be the sort of team that we want to be.

“I think there’s going to be a great buy-in and a great atmosphere at Twickenham. Now the responsibility is on us as players to go and back that up.”

Borthwick has named an unchanged matchday 23 to the one announced for the 27-24 victory over Italy after prop Ellis Genge recovered from a foot injury to take his place on the bench.

Wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso made his Test debut in Rome on Saturday and he continues as a replacement against the nation of his birth.

The 21-year-old wing sensation has pledged allegiance to England despite being born and raised in Cardiff, prompting Wales boss Warren Gatland to remark that his decision had not gone down well across the border.

“Manny came on and did really well against Italy. He has been an incredibly calm, composed and mature character,” Borthwick said.

“He’s trained very well and in the little time I’ve known him he doesn’t seem to get fazed. I only have good things to say about him.”

England insist Immanuel Feyi-Waboso is ready to face Wales after Steve Borthwick selected an unchanged team for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash at Twickenham.

Feyi-Waboso made his Test debut as a late replacement in the round one victory over Italy and he continues on the bench for the visit of Warren Gatland’s men.

The 21-year-old wing sensation has pledged allegiance to England despite being born and raised in Cardiff, prompting Wales boss Warren Gatland to remark that his decision had not gone down well across the border.

Borthwick had no hesitation giving Feyi-Waboso, who has been in electric form for Exeter this season, the opportunity to win his second cap.

“Not from my point of view. He came on and did really well against Italy. He has been an incredibly calm, composed and mature character,” Borthwick said.

“He’s trained very well and in the little time I’ve known him he doesn’t seem to get fazed. I only have good things to say about him.”

Jamie George, who leads England out at Twickenham for the first time, also believes the rookie will rise to the occasion if he steps off the bench.

“Manny is a very confident guy. He understands our defensive system because it’s pretty similar to the one at Exeter, which is beneficial. He isn’t fazed by anything,” George said.

Borthwick has retained the same starting XV and bench originally announced for the 27-24 victory in Italy following prop Ellis Genge’s recovery from a foot injury.

Genge was named on the bench for the Stadio Olimpico opener only to be ruled out on the morning of the game, but he has been passed fit for the visit of Warren Gatland’s men.

Ben Obano deputised at loosehead in Genge’s absence and now drops out of the matchday 23 altogether.

The most recent occasion England named an unchanged side was under Eddie Jones for the 2019 World Cup final against South Africa in Japan, which they lost 32-12.

“While last weekend’s performance was far from perfect, it was a promising start,” Borthwick said.

“It was a really promising start for the less experienced guys and the younger guys.

“There’s a blend of leadership and experience. It’s important to keep that blend and build cohesion and continuity.

“The players will get better and better the more they are playing together.”

Five players made their Test debuts against Italy – Ethan Roots, Fraser Dingwall, Chandler Cunningham-South, Fin Smith and Feyi-Waboso – and have the opportunity to press their claim for ongoing selection.

Roots was named man of the match in Rome after a blockbusting display at blindside flanker.

Exeter boss Rob Baxter has backed “calm character” Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to make the most of his opportunity with England.

The 21-year-old Exeter wing was born in Cardiff and spoke with Wales defence coach Mike Forshaw ahead of this season’s Guinness Six Nations Championship.

But Feyi-Waboso also qualified for England, and he has taken that route, being named among seven uncapped players in Steve Borthwick’s squad for the tournament.

The Exeter University medical student has excelled in Chiefs colours this season, scoring some memorable tries and consistently proving a handful for opposition defences.

Feyi-Waboso will potentially be up against the likes of Elliot Daly and Tommy Freeman for a starting place against England’s opening Six Nations opponents Italy on February 3.

And Baxter believes he will thrive in the England environment, having impressed him at every turn this term.

“He has maintained decent form on the field, hence his call-up, and he is a calm character on the whole. I would like to think he will take it in his stride,” Baxter said.

“At the same time, you get relatively short time in the England camps to prove a point, so he is going to have to step in there and get on with things and drive his own opportunity.

“I think he is just the kind of guy who might well do that. I don’t have any fears for him.

“I think he is a guy with a very bright future in the game, and this is just one of those steps for him.

“One of his dreams is playing international rugby, winning trophies and playing Premiership rugby, but another big part of his dream is qualifying to be a doctor. It is not just always about rugby.

“He is settled at Exeter University and is happy the way the course is going, and with us. Once he goes to play for Wales, that is it, there is no get-out for him.

“If he wants to keep playing internationally, he has to go back to Wales, there is no leeway there for him.

“These are things people have to take into account when they wonder what he is doing. He has got big decisions to make, and it is not all one country over another.

“He has got himself up and running in his medical career. From what I can gather, England were in contact with him earlier than Wales, so there are a few factors.”

Feyi-Waboso will report for England duty next week alongside his Exeter colleagues Ethan Roots and Henry Slade, with Slade being recalled after missing out on the World Cup in France.

Baxter added: “The biggest thing I will say before they leave us after this weekend will be to make sure they are confident being themselves, and the qualities they have shown are the reason they got selected.

“If someone wants to pick you because of the way you play in club rugby, those are the attributes you have to show when you play.

“I always look at 100-cap international players, and nine times out of 10 when you watch them play they play pretty much the same when they play in a club game.

“They have that confidence in the way they play at club level, and if they do that well it transposes well into the international game.

“Henry getting back into the England set-up is a celebration for him, but it is a celebration for the team as well, and I really hope the team feel like that.

“He has almost, not reinvented himself, because he hasn’t had to because he is a very, very good player, but he has certainly reinvigorated himself.

“He is certainly playing with a pace, energy, enthusiasm and drive that is very evident.”

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