Six Nations 2014: Tom Johnson in England squad to face Wales
Six Nations 2014: Exeter Chiefs star Tom Johnson is named among Stuart Lancaster's 23-man England squad
Stuart Lancaster has named Tom Johnson in his 23-man squad for Sunday’s match against Wales at Twickenham as Manu Tuilagi misses out.
With Billy Vunipola ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations, Exeter Chiefs back row forward Johnson is expected to be on the bench behind Gloucester’s Ben Morgan, but could make his first appearance for England since 2012.
With two wins from their opening three matches, including an impressive display against Ireland last time out at Twickenham, Lancaster is expected to name an almost unchanged starting XV on Friday.
Tuilagi, who returned for 70 minutes in Leicester Tigers’ win at Newcastle Falcons had been tipped for an instant recall, but Lancaster has opted not to follow in the footsteps of Wales counterpart Warren Gatland by including one of his proven centres.
“The performance against Ireland has given us a lot of confidence going into this game against a high quality Welsh team and we feel it’s right to give the bulk of that 23 another opportunity,” Lancaster said.
“Tom Johnson has trained with us throughout and we are looking forward to his contribution.
“There is a lot of competition for places and to have Marland and Manu back training with us this week has been great.
“With Leicester and Wasps not involved in the LV= Cup semi-finals this weekend we are able to keep Matt Mullan to provide cover in the front row and also to give Manu more time to get up to speed with the team.”
England match-day squad to face Wales
Forwards (13): David Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Backs (10): Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby),