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Lancaster set to spring surprise


England's Dan Cole is spurred on by Lions experience

England's Dan Cole is spurred on by Lions experience

England's Dan Cole is spurred on by Lions experience

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has indicated changes will be kept to a minimum against Argentina, but looks set to spring a surprise when he names his team on Thursday morning.

While all the focus has been on a disappointing performance from inside centre Billy Twelvetrees in the 20-13 victory over Australia, reports suggest it is the back three that will be adjusted.

Wasps wing Christian Wade is in line to win his second cap and make his Twickenham debut on Saturday, replacing either Chris Ashton or Marland Yarde.

At 5ft 10in and 13st 8lbs Wade is small for a modern-day wing, but the British and Irish Lion has electric pace and is an elusive runner.

Twelvetrees will start his seventh Test after being given a vote of confidence by Lancaster on Monday in response to his difficulties in the opening QBE International against Australia.

The Gloucester centre was at fault for the Wallabies' try after being brushed aside by Matt Toomua and also gave away two penalties, but will be retained against Argentina.

"Billy is disappointed with one or two areas of his game, but a lot of areas were pretty good. We have to give him credit for that," Lancaster said.

"Billy's done pretty well for us and deserves another chance I think."

Lee Dickson's presence at scrum-half is under pressure from Ben Youngs, who added zip to England's play when he came on as a second-half substitute last Saturday.

One confirmed change will be in the front row where Alex Corbisiero returns after missing out against Australia with a knee injury.

Corbisiero replaces loosehead Mako Vunipola, who has incurred a knee problem of his own and has been ruled out of the second match of the autumn series.

Second row Geoff Parling will be named on the bench in place of Dave Attwood after recovering from the mild concussion sustained in training last week.

Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury are Lancaster's preferred partnership in one of the most competitive positions in the team.

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"Everyone is acutely aware of the pressure in selection and the need to perform on a daily and weekly basis," Lancaster said.

"If Geoff he'd been fit for Australia he would have been on the bench. That was the first time in my time as head coach that he would not have been picked."

Apart from Corbisiero's return the pack will remain unchanged, although with Tom Youngs' wife expecting their first child Dylan Hartley may start at hooker.

Lancaster is enthused by the potential of his forwards, who performed well against Australia.

"We're pleased with the way the pack went at the weekend. I'm not going to start making grand statements about our pack because we know there are definitely areas we can improve on," he said.

"But when you look at the young age and some of the size and athletic ability we have in the forwards - the physicality-pace-power equation - we have some good options building now, some good depth emerging."

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