WORLD CUP: England have a point to prove against Ireland: Geoff Parling

England's Geoff Parling
England's Geoff Parling

Geoff Parling views the visit of Ireland to Twickenham on Saturday as the chance for England’s pack to prove their recent wobble is merely a temporary setback.

The World Cup hosts suffered at the set piece during their two-warm-up games against France last month with the 25-20 defeat in Paris making for particularly painful viewing.

The line-out is the source of gravest concern and Parling has been restored to the second row in the hope that his expertise will result in it functioning once again.

The pack has been a historical source of English strength and has excelled throughout the tenure of head coach Stuart Lancaster, giving Parling the confidence to declare they still remain a force with which to be reckoned.

“We have beaten up teams and performed well in the past. You don’t suddenly became a poor set piece side. I don’t think so anyway,” the Exeter lock said.

“I just think it is a few little fix-ups. It is never one area. It really does get to me when people always seem to blame the hooker. Sometimes that’s out of order.

“There was one bad throw in the last game against France. No matter how many times I say it’s not their fault they still get blamed. That’s life.

“I don’t think there’s a big problem. It’s a combination of little things that didn’t go well, but I still think we’re a very good set-piece team.

“It’s now up to us to show it at the weekend. We have done a lot of work but you can train all you want, the proof is going to be on Saturday.”


ENGLAND: M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), B Barritt (Saracens), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), T Youngs (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), G Parling (Exeter), T Wood (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Morgan (Gloucester)

Replacements: J George (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), K Brookes (Northampton), J Launchbury (Wasps), B Vunipola (Saracens), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), S Burgess (Bath).

IRELAND: S Zebo (Munster), T Bowe (Ulster), J Payne (Ulster), R Henshaw (Connacht), D Kearney (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), J McGrath (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross, D Toner (both Leinster), P O’Connell (Toulon, capt), P O’Mahony (Munster), S O’Brien, J Heaslip (both Leinster).

Replacements: R Strauss, T Furlong (both Leinster), N White (Connacht), D Ryan (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), E Reddan, I Madigan (both Leinster), Darren Cave (Ulster).