Lancaster: Wilson is ready
David Wilson will start Saturday's crunch RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland after head coach Stuart Lancaster declared the Bath prop ready for his England return.
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The bulging disk that has ended Dan Cole's Championship means Wilson will be pressed into action at Twickenham despite having played just 47 minutes since recovering from a calf injury sustained two months ago.
The 28-year-old's cameo came in Saturday's Aviva Premiership victory over Exeter and despite his lack of match fitness, Cole's absence ensures he will be promoted straight into the starting XV against unbeaten Ireland.
The only alternative at tighthead is Henry Thomas, who has been supplying cover to Cole from the bench, but at 22 the Sale Shark is deemed unready to start such a pivotal match.
"Clearly it's not ideal having had such limited game time but there are certainly positives from my point of view," Lancaster said.
"He was outstanding for us on the summer tour to Argentina and for me he's played his best rugby this season.
"His calf has healed pretty well, but it's a tight back that's kept him out for the last couple of weeks.
"He's been able to maintain his fitness, albeit there's nothing that beats a game.
"Obviously during the Exeter against Bath game there was a lot of rugby played in the first half.
"Certainly he felt the pace, but he's good to go and it's good to have him back.
"We're not bringing in an inexperienced tighthead here.
"We're bringing in an experienced tighthead who has a lot of runs on the board in terms of international experience and game time.
"He hasn't played so much this season, but we're 100 per cent confident about bringing him back into the team."
Cole needs a period of rest after the bulging disk, which is trapping a nerve, was diagnosed when the Leicester tighthead experienced weakness during a gym session at St George's Park last week.
The British and Irish Lions front row is due to see a specialist for a second opinion on Tuesday.
"It only happened during one specific movement," Lancaster said.
"He was doing a bench press and he was down in strength in one arm, which then alerted everyone to the need for further investigation.
"It was then on the resulting scans that we saw the bulging disc.
"My understanding from the medics was that it happened over a period of time and was not a one-off incident that caused it.
"Obviously now that it has been diagnosed, it's not worth to taking the risk over, we need to allow to heal properly."