Eddie Jones Announces England Team For Opening Six Nations Fixture
After finishing 2016 unbeaten and being holders of the Grand Slam, England are the team to beat in this year's Six Nations that kicks off this weekend. Eddie Jones has picked the strongest team available to him.
Jones worked wonders in his first year as England boss, the Slam, a whitewash of Australia in Australia and unbeaten during the Autumn internationals took them to 13 from 13.
Check out our Rugby XV made up of footballers:
But with the World Cup still two years away the perfectionist Jones will be looking for only improvement from England, especially as Ireland and Scotland have undoubtedly improved from last year and Wales and France still can't be counted out.
England have been struck with a bit of an injury crisis with the likes of Mako and Billy Vunipola, George Kruis, Chris Robshaw and Anthony Watson all missing for at least the start of the tournament so Jones has picked the strongest side available to him.
As previously announced Dylan Hartley keeps his place as hooker and England captain despite his sending off on return to Northampton Saints and subsequent ban which means he's played six minutes of rugby in around two months.
Perhaps the only surprise is the return of Elliot Daly to the starting line up ahead of Jack Nowell. However Nowell reportedly missed the last two days of training so the Wasps man starts and the Exeter player is amongst the replacements.
England are continuing to build for the World Cup in Japan in 2019 but more immediately will be the hope of another trophy, another Grand Slam and the possibility of beating New Zealand's win record.
With their 13 games won last season and win in their last game of the shocking World Cup campaign they are on 14 wins, a Grand Slam would take them to 19 wins and past the All Blacks' 18 from August 2015-October 2016 that included the World Cup win.
England open up against France at Twickenham before a trip to Wales, home games against Italy and Scotland and finally what could be a showdown for the title against Ireland at the AVIVA Stadium.