Launchbury fit for Wales clash
Joe Launchbury has passed a late fitness test and will start for England in their Grand Slam showdown with Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
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The Wasps lock injured his elbow in England's 18-11 win against Italy but he has improved to retain his place in a side that features four changes for the RBS 6 Nations title decider.
Tom Croft will start at blindside flanker in only his seventh appearance since returning to action after recovering from a broken neck that almost left him paralysed.
Croft has replaced James Haskell, Joe Marler has reclaimed the loosehead prop position from Mako Vunipola and England will start with Owen Farrell and Ben Youngs at half-back.
Farrell missed the game against Italy with a thigh strain but he was passed fit on Monday and returns to the side in place of Toby Flood, with Youngs replacing Danny Care at scrum-half.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We have come a long way through the QBE series and the Six Nations and we want to finish well on what will be a fantastic occasion in Cardiff."
Launchbury has developed into a key figure for England this season and he was given until this morning to prove his fitness, after hyper-extending his elbow against the Azzurri.
For the most important team announcement of his tenure, Lancaster's biggest decision was in the back row and he has opted to fast-track Croft back into the starting line-up.
Croft's last start for England was exactly 12 months ago. In April of last year he suffered a triple break to the C6 vertebra and a burst disc when he mistimed a routine tackle on Harlequins number eight Nick Easter.
The Leicester flanker was told later that he had come as close to being paralysed as it was possible to be but he made his comeback for the Tigers on January 4.
After being given medical clearance to play every week, Croft was immediately recalled by England and he came off the bench against Italy.
He will bring a more mobile, athletic dimension to the England back row than the more physical Haskell, who is primed to win his 50th cap off the bench.
England team to play Wales in the RBS 6 Nations at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday, March 16 (kick-off 5pm): A Goode (Saracens); C Ashton (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester), B Barritt (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins); O Farrell (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), T Youngs (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), G Parling (Leicester), T Croft (Leicester), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), T Wood (Northampton). Replacements: D Hartley (Northampton), D Wilson (Bath), M Vunipola (Saracens), C Lawes (Northampton), J Haskell (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), T Flood (Leicester), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester).