Saracens' Maro Itoje is set to make his first start for England in the third Six Nations match against Ireland on Saturday [27 February] after first-choice lock Joe Launchbury withdrew with a hamstring injury. Courtney Lawes has replaced the Wasps second-row but having been initially omitted from the 23-man squad to face the defending champions is expected to be overlooked to partner George Kruis.
Itoje made his England bow in the 40-9 victory over Italy in Rome but the 21-year-old is set to make the step-up to full international in Eddie Jones' first Twickenham match as head coach. The unbeaten championship leaders are expected to be otherwise unchanged for the visit of Joe Schmidt's side.
"It was anticipated that Joe Launchbury (Wasps) would take part in England's RBS 6 Nations game against Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday but after further consultation with team medical staff today it has been decided he is unfit to play and will return back to his club for further treatment on a hamstring injury," an RFU statement read. "Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) will join up with the squad tonight as a replacement."