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Six Nations: England’s Dylan Hartley and Elliot Daly fit to face Ireland

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    Daly returned against France after spraining his ankle playing for Wasps in December
    Six Nations: England v Ireland
    Venue: Twickenham Stadium. Date: Saturday, 17 March Kick-off: 14:45 (GMT)
    Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live, live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

    England captain Dylan Hartley and wing Elliot Daly have both been declared fit for Saturday’s Six Nations match against Grand Slam-chasing Ireland.

    Hartley missed the defeat in Paris with a calf injury, while Daly has been struggling this week with a foot problem.

    Assistant coach Paul Gustard confirmed the pair both trained on Wednesday and are available for selection.

    England will name their starting XV on Thursday morning.

    Once the team is announced a handful of players will be released back to their clubs.

    “We are well aware of the situation we are in – we have lost the last two, and we are looking forward to this weekend,” Gustard told BBC Radio 5 live.

    The England coaches will meet on Wednesday afternoon to discuss selection, with flanker James Haskell set to return to the starting XV after making an impactful cameo against the French.

    Gustard also explained the presence of Marius van der Westhuizen in the England camp this week.

    Eddie Jones says recent defeats have been beneficial to England’s development

    The South African official has been refereeing some of England’s sessions, even though he will be an assistant to Angus Gardner at Twickenham on Saturday.

    Gustard denies there will be any conflict of interest, and says Van der Westhuizen was allocated to England by World Rugby referees’ chief Alain Rolland as part of a long-term agreement.

    “The appointment of Marius was a long time ago,” Gustard said.

    “Everyone has the opportunity to contact Alain Rolland and ask for someone to come in and give us assistance, just as we get Wayne Barnes in or any of the English referees in. We had that opportunity.

    “There is nothing illegal about it or untoward about it, and if people think there is anything bizarre about it then they are questioning the integrity of the referee.”

    Unbeaten Ireland come to Twickenham hunting only a third Grand Slam in their history.

    “Ireland all round are a good team – they have scored a lot of points in the competition this year,” Gustard added.

    “We are preparing for a team that are going to come and attack us. We will have to be at our best.”

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