Jan 31, 2019
Six Sarries to face Ireland
Owen Farrell will captain England in their Six Nations opener against Ireland on Saturday.
The Sarries fly-half starts at 10 for Eddie Jones’ side in Dublin, with a few familiar faces in support in the pack.
Jamie George gets the nod at hooker, packing down with Mako Vunipola in the front row while Maro Itoje and George Kruis pair up in the second row.
Billy Vunipola will make his first appearance in an England shirt since the South Africa tour last summer at Number 8.
Jones said: “I think it is quite clear to beat Ireland you have to beat them in the contest area. They are very good at the breakdown and in the air. Both those areas are a priority for us. Traditionally England and Ireland games are always very close, they are tough affairs, there is a lot of emotion in the games so our ability to finish the game strongly is going to be vital.
“It is well documented no one thinks we can win but I can tell you everyone inside our camp believes we can win. We are hugely looking forward to the weekend.”
On the returning Vunipola brothers: “It is nice to have Mako and Billy back. Mako is obviously a world-class loose head. We missed him during the autumn but he has come back in good nick and really committed to be the best he can be. With Billy we haven’t had him for a long time. He’s also in great nick and ready to play well for us.”
England starting XV (485 caps)
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 25 caps)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps)
12 Manu Tuiagi (Leicester Tigers, 27 caps)
11 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 65 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 80 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 51 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 32 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 17 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 26 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 27 caps)
6 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 8 caps)
7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 5 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 36 caps)
Finishers (206 caps)
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 15 caps)
19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 68 caps)
20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 18 caps)
21 Dan Robson (Wasps, uncapped)
22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps)
23 Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks, 42 caps)