Eddie Jones hasn’t got any concerns about the selection of inexperienced duo Jonny Hill and Will Stuart in the starting England pack for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations round one encounter with Scotland at Twickenham. Second row Hill and tighthead Stuart have just four and eight caps respectively compared to the wealth of experience they are replacing, the injured Joe Launchbury (69 caps) and the suspended Kyle Sinckler (40 caps).

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It’s a shortfall of 97 caps but Jones believes the strides made in 2020 by Hill and Stuart have them primed for greater involvement with England, the game versus the Scots being only the second Test start for each player.   

“Both of those guys have been progressing nicely. Will Stuart is a guy that came into our squad about twelve months ago. He has worked really hard on his physical condition, he has worked hard on his scrummaging and he is an outstanding ball carrier. We are lucky to have him to start with Kyle unavailable,” said Jones. 

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Jonny Wilkinson and Gregor Townsend reflect on the Calcutta Cup:

“Jonny Hill we took to South Africa in 2018. Unfortunately, he spent most of the time on the toilet. Since then he has worked really hard to build his body up. He has been consistently good for his club and he gives us that physical edge. 

“We needed that to replace a very important part of our team when George Kruis left. Jonny fills that role as the working No5 in the pack. And both of those guys are going to be ready on Saturday.”

Jones added that he didn’t take either player aside to tell them they have had made the XV. “I don’t tell them, they just find out at team selection. We only talk to the people who aren’t selected,” he explained about a selection showing four changes from the December win over France, Ollie Lawrence for George Ford and Mark Wilson for the injured Sam Underhill the other two alterations.    

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“For each of the players now we work out what they need. It’s not what we need as coaches, it’s what they need and if they need a word from any of the coaches we will make sure they get them. This last 48 hours particularly we see it as the players’ time, not the coaches’ time. We just work out what they need. 

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