Following an impressive 24-22 win in Paris last Sunday, Stuart Lancaster has recalled David Strettle onto the wing and Lee Mears to the bench, knowing his side can feasibly still retain their Six Nations crown. They would, however, need the French to do them a favour against Grand Slam chasers Wales in Cardiff and a sizeable aggregate swing of 38 points.
Against the side that denied them a Grand Slam in 2011, Foden, Ashton and Hartley all start once more and are joined by Dickson, who retains the number 9 jersey. Having taken a worrying looking knock with a try saving tackle at the Stade de France, Dowson has been passed fit and will again be amongst the replacements at Twickenham.
With the winners guaranteed to finish in second place, Lancaster is relishing what could be his last game in charge of the national side.
"It seems like yesterday when we got together in Leeds in January and began a new journey for England Rugby. Graham, Andy and myself firmly believe in this group of players and the direction we are going.
"Saturday is another step on that road and we are looking forward to coming home to a packed Twickenham with its special atmosphere and crowd. Their support has been phenomenal and we hope we can do the whole nation proud again."
ENGLAND SIDE TO FACE IRELAND
SIX NATIONS 2012
Saturday, March 17th, 2012
Kick off 5pm
15 Ben FODEN (Northampton Saints)
14 Chris ASHTON (Northampton Saints)
13 Manu TUILAGI (Leicester Tigers)
12 Brad BARRITT (Saracens)
11 David STRETTLE (Saracens)
10 Owen FARRELL (Saracens)
9 Lee DICKSON (Northampton Saints)
1 Alex CORBISIERO (London Irish)
2 Dylan HARTLEY (Northampton Saints)
3 Dan COLE (Leicester Tigers)
4 Mouritz BOTHA (Saracens)
5 Geoff PARLING (Leicester Tigers)
6 Tom CROFT (Leicester Tigers)
7 Chris ROBSHAW (capt) (Harlequins)
8 Ben MORGAN (Scarlets)
16 Lee MEARS (Bath)
17 Matt STEVENS (Saracens)
18 Tom PALMER (Stade Francais)
19 Phil DOWSON (Northampton Saints)
20 Ben YOUNGS (Leicester Tigers)
21 Charlie HODGSON (Saracens)
22 Mike BROWN (Harlequins)