Chiefs quartet named to face Ireland
By Mark Stevens
Four Exeter Chiefs players have been named in Eddie Jones’ England squad to face Ireland in their opening Guinness Six Nations match in Dublin on Saturday (kick off 4.45pm).
Jack Nowell and Henry Slade will both start the game at the Aviva Stadium, while Luke Cowan-Dickie and Harry Williams are named amongst the replacements.
Owen Farrell will captain England at fly-half with Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) named outside him at 12. Tuilagi will start his first match for England since the third Test against New Zealand in June 2014.
Brothers Mako and Billy Vunipola (Saracens) will play for England for the first time this season having last featured in the Test series against South Africa in June 2018.
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks) and Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) will make their Guinness Six Nations debuts having been named at openside and blindside flanker respectively.
Dan Robson (Wasps) is set to make his England debut having been named as a finisher. The highly-experienced Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) will start at scrum-half.
Speaking ahead of the clash, 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 England’s preparation in Portugal: “This camp has been vitally important for us to get our understanding on how we want to play the game. It has been also enormously important for us is to get that togetherness off the field and the senior players and staff have been working very hard in those areas. We have a great group of players, hardworking and a good mix who have come together really well.”
England starting XV to face Ireland
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, capt)
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)
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)