Jones gives Watson, Vunipola starting berths

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:13

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: There are two changes in the England starting XV for their clash against Ireland on Saturday.

Billy Vunipola starts at No.8 having come off the bench against Scotland and in the backline Anthony Watson is named on the right wing.

Jack Nowell and Nathan Hughes are the only changes to the bench.

Saturday's match will see 30-year old back-row forward 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 England head coach 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."

England head into the game unbeaten in their last 18 games, while Ireland have lost twice in this year's Championship and Jones is wary of the challenge they pose.

"Ireland not having anything to play for means they have the courage to fail which frees them up mentally," added Jones.

"We are a little bit vulnerable because we have already been crowned the Six Nations champions and we had a big win against Scotland, so for us it's getting the right mindset for the game."

Forwards coach Steve Borthwick is expecting a stern test off Ireland on Saturday and says the England squad are aware of the tough challenge they face in Dublin.

"I think Ireland are a very good side," he added.

"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."

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tom Wood, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te'o, 23 Jack Nowell.

Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 17.00 (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 09h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 09h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 11h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 11h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 14h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 09h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 09h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 11h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 11h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 14h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0