Six Nations 2015: Alex Goode set to start for England against Ireland

Saracens full-back in pole position for recall as Mike Brown goes through return-to-play concussion protocols

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff

Saracens full-back Alex Goode could be handed an England recall as Mike Brown works his way through concussion protocols.

Harlequins star Brown was knocked out early in the first half of the Red Rose’s 47-17 win over Italy in the RBS 6 Nations on Saturday 14 May and the 29-year-old suffered a set back on Friday.

A lot will depend on how the next 24 hours go but a decision will have to be made within the next two days I’d say because the team need a chance to prepare with all the pieces in place.

Stuart Lancaster

England head coach Stuart Lancaster will take advice from the team’s medical staff before deciding whether Brown will be able to return this week, with the player’s welfare put before the needs of the team as they go head to head with Ireland, who are the only other unbeaten country in this year’s championship.

With concussion still a hot topic in the sport, England could err on the side of caution and rest Brown for their next match against Ireland on Sunday even if he is free of concussion symptoms, as Wales did with winger George North for their last match with Scotland.

Goode won the last of his 16 caps as a replacement against Wales 12 months ago and Lancaster sees the 26-year-old as an ideal replacement for Brown, despite having the option to switch Bath Rugby winger Anthony Watson to full-back.

Watson is expected to retain his wing position with Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell in contention to replace Jonny May on the other wing.

“It’s very early for me to pencil Mike in for a game at the moment,” Lancaster said.

“We don’t know how it is going to play out because he’s done stage one of the process on Monday and there could be a reaction. That will have an implication, big time.

“A lot will depend on how the next 24 hours go but a decision will have to be made within the next two days I’d say because the team need a chance to prepare with all the pieces in place.

“If he ticks the boxes successfully on a daily basis then there’ll also be a conversation to be had with him about how he’s feeling mentally in terms of the lack of training he’s been able to do.”

Worcester Warriors’ Chris Pennell has been called up to the England training squad as cover at full-back, with Bath Rugby hooker Rob Webber also joining the squad to cover Tom Youngs.

“Chris Pennell did well on the New Zealand tour and with Mike still in the early stages of the graduated return-to-play protocol we wanted another full-back to train along with Alex Goode,” Lancaster added.

“Courtney Lawes, Geoff Parling and Tom Wood are all expected to train tomorrow and we’ll have some selection decisions to make over the next 24 hours before we release some players back to their Aviva Premiership clubs on Tuesday.”

England centre Manu Tuilagi will also continue his recovery from injury in their camp at Pennyhill Park.

Lancaster will announce his team to face Ireland on Friday.

England training squad for Ireland (36):

Forwards (19): Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (captain, Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs (17): Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)


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