Eddie Jones reveals England team for Ireland showdown in Six Nations opener as Jack Nowell starts on wing and Manu Tuilagi partners Henry Slade
- George Kruis and Maro Itoje combine in Saracens partnership in second row
- Jack Nowell has been picked on the wing with Elliot Daly given nod at full-back
- Manu Tuilagi’s power combines with playmaking skills of Henry Slade in centres
- Courtney Lawes and Nathan Hughes offer ball carrying options from the bench
Jack Nowell has been recalled to start for England in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin – as part of a reshuffled back line.
As reported by MailOnline on Wednesday night, the Exeter wing has been brought into the Red Rose XV for the showdown against the title-holders, while – as expected – Manu Tuilagi will make his first championship start since March, 2013.
The Leicester wrecking ball has been picked to replace the injured Ben Te’o at 12, in a partnership with Henry Slade, even though head coach Eddie Jones has repeatedly stated that he sees him as an outside centre.
Jack Nowell has been named on the wing for England’s Six Nations opener in Dublin
ENGLAND TEAM TO FACE IRELAND:
E Daly (Wasps); J May (Leicester), H Slade (Exeter), M Tuilagi (Leicester), J Nowell (Exeter); O Farrell (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), J George (Saracens), K Sinckler (Harlequins); M Itoje (Saracens), G Kruis (Saracens); M Wilson (Newcastle), B Vunipola (Saracens), T Curry (Sale).
L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), E Genge (Leicester), H Williams (Exeter), C Lawes (Northampton), N Hughes (Wasps), D Robson (Wasps), G Ford (Leicester), C Ashton (Sale)
Up front, there are recalls for the Vunipola brothers – Mako and Billy – who both missed the autumn campaign due to injury. And the Saracens contingent in the pack has been bolstered by the presence of George Kruis in the second row, alongside Maro Itoje, just as he was against South Africa and New Zealand at the start of November.
The selection of Kruis ahead of the hard-hitting Saint, Courtney Lawes, is a reflection of an English desire to negate Ireland’s lineout threat.
In particular, Jones and his assistant coaches will be wary of the menacing presence of Peter O’Mahony, the abrasive Munster captain and flanker who is also a master aerial poacher.
Lawes is among the bench reserves, meaning there is no place in the match-day 23 for Joe Launchbury.
The other member of the 25-man squad retained to prepare for this match is Mike Brown.
Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade look a well balanced pairing of power and guile in the centres
George Kruis will combine with his Saracens second row partner Maro Itoje in the pack
The veteran Harlequins full-back has been in fine form for his club of late and it was felt that he would have a significant chance of starting in Dublin, as a means of combatting the tactical kicking of Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, but he has missed the cut again.
Instead, Elliot Daly has been retained at full-back, despite his struggles under the high ball during the autumn.
Jones and the England management seemingly regard the Wasps player – whose summer transfer to Saracens will be confirmed imminently – as the ideal candidate to wear the No 15 shirt at the World Cup. On that basis, they have backed him for this momentous fixture.
Elliot Daly has been named at full-back in what could be a huge test of his aerial capabilities
As had been anticipated, Newcastle flanker Mark Wilson has been selected at blindside flanker and has a chance to seize a grip on that place while Brad Shields recovers from a side strain. Sale openside Tom Curry is on the other flank.
His Sharks club-mate, Chris Ashton, has been included among the replacements, with Dan Robson and George Ford the other back-up backs.
Lawes and Nathan Hughes can provide physical clout when they are brought on, as can the marauding, hard-scrummaging Leicester loosehead, Ellis Genge, who is back in the 23 after missing the autumn campaign due to injury.