Final World Cup warm-up gives Harlequins trio last chance to seal England starting spots

Harlequins trio Joe Marler, Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown will all start for England tomorrow in their final World Cup warm-up against Ireland at Twickenham.

England were left reeling by a dominant French pack in Paris a fortnight ago, but, back in Twickenham’s familiar environs, they will look to rebuild confidence and maintain a home winning-streak which extends back to November 2014.

Sam Burgess is poised to win his second cap from the bench, a selection which has drawn criticism from former Harlequins and England captain Will Carling, with first-choice centre partnership Jonathan Joseph and Brad Barritt given a much needed opportunity to gel.

Elsewhere, eyes will inevitably be fixed on Tom Youngs, whose set piece woes should be eased by the return of favoured target Geoff Parling, who in turn assumes control of the line-out from Courtney Lawes.

Fan-favourite full-back Brown celebrates his 30th birthday today, and will be hoping he can push on from his assured return to international rugby in Paris.

England captain Robshaw told The Daily Telegraph: “We’ve got a big three weeks ahead and hopefully we’ll make big strides forward.

“We’re back at Twickenham and we’re looking forward to that.”

Ireland though, whose nine-match unbeaten home run came to an end last weekend against England’s Group A opponents Wales, have a point to prove and will provide a stern test for England.

Peter O’Mahony, Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien are reunited in the back row for the Six Nations champions, in a pack shot through with experience.

With the World Cup beginning in two weeks, both teams will be eager to make a statement so expect a ferocious battle at rugby HQ.

Feature image courtesy of England Rugby TV, via Youtube, with thanks

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