Eddie Jones has made four changes to his England XV to face Ireland on Saturday in round two of the Autumn Nations Cup – all of the alterations come in the pack as the head coach resisted the temptation to bring fit-again George Ford into the starting line-up at out-half.
England defeated Georgia 40-0 in round one at Twickenham last Saturday but pack starters Jack Willis and Charlie Ewels didn’t make the 25-man squad that was confirmed on Tuesday evening, while replacement back Joe Marchant was also excluded.
With Jonathan Joseph passed fit, the starting backline is the same as that which defeated Georgia, but Jones has altered half of his pack. Both props have been changed, last weekend’s replacements Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler promoted from the bench for Ellis Genge and Will Stuart who are now held in reserve.
With Ewels excluded, Maro Itoje, who started at blindside last Saturday, switches back to second row to allow Jones to select a back row where Tom Curry – a sub last Saturday – and Sam Underhill – rested – are recalled to combine with Billy Vunipola.
Fit-again Ford makes the bench as does Jonny Hill, who made his debut as a starter last month in Italy.
“Ireland have a good record here but that means nothing to this England group.” – England assistant coach Andy Farrell – 2012@CiaranKennedy_ ???looks at what's been said over the last decade in one of rugby's keenest grudge matches #ENGvIRE https://t.co/40SMyPw9AB
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 19, 2020
Jones said: “I’ve picked the strongest team possible for the most important game of our season. We have the highest respect for the Ireland and their coach Andy Farrell. They’ve had a good preparation with two wins and a dominant display against Wales, and we will need to be at our best on Saturday.
“We’ve trained well this week, we’re expecting a tough, physical game against Ireland and we’ve reflected that in our sessions. We’ll look to lift our performance even higher and are looking forward to a really good game of rugby.”
ENGLAND XV STARTERS
15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 44 caps)
14. Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 52 caps)
13. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 2 caps)
12. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 31 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 58 caps)
10. Owen Farrell (c) (Saracens, 85 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 101 caps)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 61 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 51 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 37 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 40 caps)
5. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 66 caps)
6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 25 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 19 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps)
16. Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, 2 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 20 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)
19. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 5 caps)
21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 4 caps)
22. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 69 caps)
23. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 1 cap)
RugbyPass Offload – Episode 7 – Corbs & Co
Great to have @AlexCorbs join us this week to chat Ireland v England, Lions Tours, Tinder dates, Giltinis and his battle to overcome cancer?
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 18, 2020
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