England coach Andy Robinson has praised tighthead prop Julian White after selecting him in place of the injured Matt Stevens for Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland.
White will make his first England start in over a year after Stevens was ruled out with a strained shoulder he sustained while playing for Bath on the weekend.
White last started for England in the 11-9 defeat to Wales and despite playing in all three British & Irish Lions Tests he was omitted from the wider Red Rose squad at the beginning of this season.
A red card and subsequent nine-week ban made him unavailable for the autumn internationals, but it is unlikely he would have been selected anyway with Robinson looking for increased mobility and footballing nous from his props.
But Robinson has been impressed with the way White has worked on his game this season and believes he is ready to stake a long-term claim for the England number three jersey.
''Julian has improved, that is the key thing,'' said Robinson.
''He has worked hard on his mobility. It is the same with Andy Sheridan. The two are working together.
''We lost Matt Stevens injured, but Julian has performed well off the bench for us and he has been playing well for Leicester. He has been playing better outside the set piece.''
Josh Lewsey comes straight back into the side after recovering from a shoulder injury and once fit his inclusion was never in question.
''Tom (Voyce) did well against Italy but Josh is our number one full-back,'' said Robinson.
Robinson admitted the decision to stick by Harry Ellis at scrum-half was a close call - but he backs the Leicester man to learn from a tough outing in Italy.
''Harry is really developing his skills. We are looking for him to take the game that bit further and we are giving him that opportunity this week,'' said Robinson.
''The bench is really pushing the starting team and that is what we are looking for.''
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21 April 2017, 7:22pm
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