Eddie Jones has made three changes to his starting XV for the crucial Six Nations showdown with Scotland on Saturday afternoon.
The 124th Calcutta Cup game is set to be one of the most exciting in recent memory, with Vern Cotter’s side arriving full of confidence after victories over Ireland and Wales – meaning a win over England would seal a first Triple Crown since 1990.
The England Rugby Head Coach has resisted the urge to thrust number eight Billy Vunipola straight back into the starting line-up and will use the Saracens star as one of his ‘finishers’ from the bench – with Nathan Hughes retaining his place in the back-row.
Loosehead prop Joe Marler will win his 50th England cap at Twickenham, with Mako Vunipola set to make another impact from the bench.
Jones spoke of Marler’s achievement saying: “I congratulate Joe Marler on his 50-cap milestone. I’ve coached a lot of good players and he is certainly one of the best.
“He is an honest and committed team man and a fine individual. To have him and Mako Vunipola available together to give us 80 minutes at loose-head is an enormous advantage.”
The three changes to the starting XV come in the backline where Ben Youngs, Jonathan Joseph and Jack Nowell replace Danny Care, Ben Te’o and Jonny May respectively. Nowell makes his second start of the tournament having impressed with two scores off the bench against Italy two-weeks ago.
Star winger Anthony Watson could make his first England appearance since the summer tour against Australia, with the Bath flyer named on the bench after recovering from jaw and hamstring injuries.
Ahead of the epic encounter Jones spoke of his excitement saying: “Our preparation for Scotland has been very good.
“We had two excellent training runs in Oxford last week and followed that up this week. We’re focused on ourselves – we want to give our fans a really good performance.
“We’ve worked hard in this Six Nations and feel like a good performance is just around the corner. This is the 124th Calcutta Cup and I feel humbled and honoured to be part of such an historic rugby occasion.
“It’s the oldest international fixture and means a lot to both countries. We will treasure the experience.”
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