Itoje shifted as Jones picks 'strongest team possible'
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT Eddie Jones has named his team for England’s Nations Cup encounter with Ireland on Saturday.
England will host Ireland at Twickenham, as they look to build on their winning start to the year-end Nations Cup – after beating Georgia 40-0 in their opening match.
Owen Farrell will captain the side at flyhalf.
Ollie Lawrence will make his second start for England at outside centre, with Henry Slade at inside centre.
The team’s most-capped player, Ben Youngs, will play at scrumhalf, while Jonathan Joseph and Jonny May are on the wing.
Elliot Daly will play at fullback.
In the back row, Jones returns to the World Cup pairing of flanks of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill.
Props Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler are also back in the starting XV.
Jamie George, who scored a hat-trick of tries against Georgia, is at hooker with Mako Vunipola (loosehead prop) and Kyle Sinckler (tighthead prop) beside him in the front row.
Maro Itoje moves to lock, joining Joe Launchbury, to complete the tight five.
George Ford returns from injury and is named as a replacement, along with last weekend’s debutant Max Malins and try-scorer Dan Robson.
Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jonny Hill and Will Stuart complete the bench.
“I’ve picked the strongest team possible for the most important game of our season,” Jones said.
“We have the highest respect for Ireland and their coach Andy Farrell.
“They’ve had good preparation with two wins and a dominant display against Wales, and we will need to be at our best on Saturday.
“We’ve trained well this week, we’re expecting a tough, physical game against Ireland and we’ve reflected that in our sessions.
“We’ll look to lift our performance even higher and are looking forward to a really good game of rugby.”
England will then play their final group game in Llanelli, against hosts Wales, at Parc y Scarlets next Saturday, November 28.
Their round, a tournament placing game, will be played at Twickenham on Sunday, December 6.
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonathan Joseph, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Henry Slade, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Joe Launchbury, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacemen5ts: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 George Ford, 23 Max Malins.
Date: Saturday, November 21
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 15.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Alex Ruiz (France)
TMO: Nigel Owens (Wales)