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Vunipola And Watson To Start For England

Vunipola And Watson To Start For England

England head coach Eddie Jones has named his team for the final match of the RBS 6 Nations against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 5pm).

There are two changes to the side that beat Scotland in last weekend’s Calcutta Cup clash as England, who are unbeaten in their last 18 games, retained their RBS 6 Nations title.

Saracens’ Billy Vunipola starts at number 8 having come off the bench against Scotland and, in the back-line, Anthony Watson from Bath is named on the right wing. Nathan Hughes and Jack Nowell drop to the bench.

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Saturday’s round 6 match will see 30-year-old back rower Tom Wood win his 50th cap for England having made his debut against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in 2011.

“We’ve had a really good week’s preparation,” said Eddie Jones. “The intensity of training has been good. It’s going to be quite an occasion in Dublin so we understand we have to be prepared emotionally, physically and mentally.

“The message to the players has been quite simple, we’re playing Ireland on Saturday and that is the only thing that counts. We are focusing on preparing well, the only thing we can control is our preparation.”

Forwards coach Steve Borthwick is expecting a stern test from Ireland this weekend and says the England squad are aware of the tough challenge they will face.

“I think Ireland are a very good side. They have a forward pack that has experience, and have shown quality. They have pace and talent out wide in the backs. We know they are a good side,” he said.

ENGLAND Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2017 RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, March 18, kick-off 5pm):

Player/Club/Caps –

15. Mike Brown (Harlequins) 59
14. Anthony Watson (Bath) 25
13. Jonathan Joseph (Bath) 32
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens) 51
11. Elliot Daly (Wasps) 12
10. George Ford (Bath) 34
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) 69
1. Joe Marler (Harlequins) 50
2. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) (capt) 83
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers) 73
4. Joe Launchbury (Wasps) 41
5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) 57
6. Maro Itoje (Saracens) 11
7. James Haskell (Wasps) 74
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens) 33


16. Jamie George (Saracens) 16
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens) 41
18. Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) 7
19. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) 49
20. Nathan Hughes (Wasps) 7
21. Danny Care (Harlequins) 70
22. Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) 7
23. Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) 22