England v Ireland: Steve Borthwick explains XV as Immanuel Feyi-Waboso makes first Six Nations start

Exeter Chiefs star Immanuel Feyi-Waboso starts for England against Ireland (Picture: Getty)

Steve Borthwick says a delighted Immanuel Feyi-Waboso was ‘full of gratitude’ when he learned he would be making his first start for England against Ireland in the Six Nations.

Exeter Chiefs youngster Feyi-Waboso comes in for Elliot Daly on the wing, one of three changes for the hosts ahead of their clash with the defending champions at Twickenham.

The 21-year-old had been eligible for Wales, but opted to represent England ahead of this year’s championship and scored a try off the bench at Murrayfield last time out.

Alex Mitchell returns to Borthwick’s XV in place of Danny Care, with the veteran scrum-half in line to win his 100th cap as a substitute, while George Martin replaces Ethan Roots – a switch that sees Ollie Chessum move to blindside flanker.

There had be some speculation that Marcus Smith could be recalled in the wake of England’s 30-21 defeat to Scotland, but George Ford is retained at 10 and the Harlequins fly-half must settle for a place among the substitutes.

Andy Farrell’s Ireland, meanwhile, have made one change to the side that beat Wales previously, with Hugo Keenan recovering from a knee injury to replace Ciaran Frawley at full-back.

‘It’s great to see Marcus has returned to fitness, as has Mitch [Alex Mitchell], who are available for selection this week,’ England head coach Borthwick told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

‘Fin Smith took a knock the Scotland game but trained today. That was his first day back training today.’

Asked how Feyi-Waboso’s reacted to his inclusion, Borthwick said: ‘He was full of gratitude. I don’t know how many times he said thank you to me!

‘We’ve seen it with players recently, Theo Dan was another one that within a year of playing with Ampthill was in a World Cup squad.

‘We see these young players with incredible ability and determination and you see each time when you throw a challenge at these players, Immanuel, Theo, they seem to just relish that challenge and jump right to it.

‘I think we’ve seen Immanuel so far in this Six Nations has progressed brilliantly and he’s earned this opportunity.’

Borthwick has made three changes to the team that lost to Scotland (Picture: Getty)

Borthwick has made three changes to the team that lost to Scotland (Picture: Getty)

Borthwick went on: ‘I think the blend of players is important and I think Immanuel, he certainly came onto the field two weeks ago and had incredible impact.

‘He’s a player who wants the ball, he wants to carry and he wants to get the team over the gain line.’

England scrum-half Care could win his 100th cap this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Despite falling to defeat at the hands of Scotland previously, Borthwick stressed that ‘continuity’ remained an ‘important factor’ behind his team selection.

‘I think continuity in selection is one very important factor and as we build this team, as we go forward, it’s an important factor for consideration,’ he said.

‘We know in the Scotland game that there were errors. It’s probably the first time in a while that I’d seen the weight of the shirt feel heavy on the players.

Reigning champions Ireland sit top after three wins from three (Picture: Getty)

‘We’ve worked around that, we’ve worked to develop that and we’ve made some errors. Then, as we’ve made the errors, we’ve started playing in a different way.

‘You saw that how we started was how we intended to play, but as you start moving away from that, it led to more errors.

‘Now, I’ve made a couple of changes to the team, but I believe in these players.’

According to Borthwick, England’s squad are desperate to right their wrongs and bounce back with victory over Ireland – the number one ranked Test team on the planet.

‘These players are determined to put in a performance this weekend,’ he explained.

‘I sense that determination from them, ever since the end of that Scotland game because there was disappointment.

‘A lot of the players were disappointed with they had gone, we all were. But I’ve sensed a determination amongst the players since that final whistle.’

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