Saracens lock Maro Itoje looks set to make his first England start after Joe Launchbury was ruled out of the RBS 6 Nations match against Ireland.

Launchbury had pulled up in training with a sore hamstring but England had expected the Wasps lock to make Ireland’s visit to Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

But the 24-year-old was ruled out on Wednesday evening with Northampton Saints lock Courtney Lawes called up to replace him.


The Rugby Football Union said in a statement:

It was anticipated that Launchbury would take part in England’s third game of the tournament but after further consultation with team medical staff it has been decided he is unfit to play.

The lock will now return back to his club (Wasps) for further treatment on a hamstring injury.