Nick Easter
Easter is set for his first England appearance in Cardiff for four years.Getty Images

Nick Easter and Danny Cipriani have both been included in England's matchday squad to face Wales in their Six Nations championship opener at the Millennium Stadium on Friday.

Easter is in line for his first international appearance since October 2011 while Cipriani will provide backup to first-choice fly-half George Ford.

Dan Cole returns to the front row, Six Nations debutant Jonathan Joseph and Luther Burrell will play in the centre and Tom Croft, Mako Vunipola and Tom Youngs are on the bench.

Dave Wilson, Courtney Lawes, Geoff Parling, Tom Wood and Brad Barritt are among the players unavailable for the opening match due to injury but could yet return later in the Championship.

"We've had to make some tight calls but we are excited about the side selected for what will be a big challenge," said head coach Stuart Lancaster.

"JJ has been one of the form centres in the country. He and Luther have trained well together and this is a big opportunity for both of them.

"Billy Vunipola has also been playing well for Saracens and it's good to be able to give George Kruis his first international start after his impressive run off the bench in November.

"Dan Cole and James Haskell bring a lot of experience, as do the bench, and their contribution will be crucial on Friday night."

England XV to face Wales

15. Mike Brown, 14: Anthony Watson, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Luther Burrell, 11. Jonny May, 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. George Kruis, 6. James Haskell, 7. Chris Robshaw, 8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16. Tom Youngs, 17. Mako Vunipola 18. Kieran Brookes, 19. Tom Croft, 20. Nick Easter, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Danny Cipriani, 23. Billy Twelvetrees