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England as expected for Wales: Morgan at No. 8

March 7, 2014

LONDON (AP) — The enforced inclusion of No. 8 Ben Morgan for the injured Billy Vunipola was the only change in the England run-on side for the Six Nations showdown with Wales at Twickenham on Sunday.

Vunipola came off with a sprained ankle in the first half of the 13-10 win over Ireland two weeks ago and was replaced by Morgan. Vunipola has been ruled out of the last two rounds of the championship. Morgan, as expected, stays where he finishes, and Exeter’s Tom Johnson, capped five times, takes Morgan’s spot in the reserves.

Coach Stuart Lancaster has said he regards Morgan and Vunipola as “like for like” in their ability to make the hard yards.

Morgan became second-choice to the more dynamic Vunipola during the autumn tests, and will make his first start in nine months.

There are six survivors from the run-on side which was pounded 30-3 by Wales in Cardiff last year, denying England the Grand Slam in the tournament finale.

While Wales is going for an unprecedented third consecutive outright Six Nations title, England is looking to beat Wales for the first time in Lancaster’s tenure.

The winner on Sunday will play for the title next week, when England heads to Italy.

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England: Mike Brown, Jack Nowell, Luther Burrell, Billy Twelvetrees, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Danny Care; Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (captain), Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, David Wilson, Dylan Hartley, Joe Marler. Reserves: Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Henry Thomas, Dave Attwood, Tom Johnson, Lee Dickson, George Ford, Alex Goode.

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