Six Nations 2019: England team to play Ireland

Owen Farrell

Eddie Jones has named the England team to play Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

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.

Elliot Daly (Wasps), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers) and Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) are named in the back three.

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.

Eddie 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.”

On selecting Manu Tuilagi Jones said: “I just felt for this game the best option was to play Owen Farrell at 10 and Manu as a like-for-like replacement for Ben Te’o. Manu has impressed us at the training camp, and is right to play.”

On the returning Vunipola brothers: “It is nice to have Mako and Billy back. Mako is obviously a world-class loose head. We missed him during the autumn but he has come back in good nick and really committed to be the best he can be. With Billy we haven’t had him for a long time. He’s also in great nick and ready to play well for us.”

On Dan Robson: “He’s done well in club rugby for a long period of time and he’s come into the squad and fitted in well. He is communicating well with the players and really deserves his opportunity.”

England starting XV (485 caps)

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 25 caps)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps)
12 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 27 caps)
11 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 65 caps)
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)

Finishers (206 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)

What do you think of the lineup?

24 thoughts on “Six Nations 2019: England team to play Ireland

  1. Great looking side on paper. Main concern is Daly at fullback with Ireland’s aerial game and would have had horses for courses and slotted Brown in…but then you only improve with practise. Maybe Brown was only bought into the squad to mentor Daly?




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    1. Maybe Nowell will play fill back and Daly wing.

      Nowell looked great under the highball recently. Numbers on the back are a ruse?

      Then again maybe Nowell will play back row!?




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      1. Gotta love Eddie’s mind games re Nowell.

        Excited for this. I live, as always, in quiet optimism, however misplaced that might be. England by 5.




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  2. Would’ve gone Brown too but not too fussed – overall a very strong 23.

    Would’ve been great to have had Underhill but hope Curry goes well against their back row.

    Genge, Lawes, Hughes and Robson off the bench can’t be something they’re looking forward to!




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    1. Whom Ollie M? The Irish, or the English bench running out to face them? Won’t it also depend on the scoreboard when they run out?




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    1. I was thinking the exact same thing Blub. Interesting that all three of them have played full back for their clubs respectively (I’m thinking of May when he was at Glos). For me Daly is a great attacking full back, but Nowell probably more solid in defence and under the high ball.
      I am surprised not to see Brown there, and would really like to see Watson there going forward once he’s fit. One thing is for sure, this will be a hard test for Daly as Murray and Sexton would be looking to put him under real pressure.

      All in all this looks good on paper. Tui at 12 will be interesting and I really hope he doesn’t fly up in defence, as is his habit.




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  3. Concerned with the 10/12 combo, Manu is steadily getting back to form but from what I have seen of him this season, all that time on the sidelines has affected his off the mark pace and he has never been the best off-loader/passer so concerned we will not get enough ball out wide (as and when). Also suspect Ireland to target him with the big hits knowing good chance he will pick up a knock and off he goes!

    Daly @ 15 is a concern. Clearly not th best under high ball for country nor club.

    Happy with the pack, feel they will give as good as they get!

    CAN’T WAIT!!!




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  4. Having 5 Sarries in the pack is probably sensible.May and Nowell on paper are on the wrong wings but may not of course play there.I remain concerned about Daly but Jones has decided he is the 15 for Japan so that’s that.Above all we must not let the Irish dominate the first 20.If we can achieve a bit more than parity we have a chance and it could be very close.




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  5. Hope Daly has been practicing catching balls with ice on them and a green juggernaut arriving! Somewhat concerned as to what happens at the breakdown if Curry gets injured, but based on the wider squad, we always knew that was going to be an issue. Fingers crossed, but expecting an Irish win.




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  6. The best midfield combo England has had in recent years was Farrell-Burgess-Slade in the RWC2015 warm-up game v France. (Yes, I am serious).
    I find the combination named for Saturday very exciting – could even be a long-term unit. Same goes for the back row, with Underhill another great option there.




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    1. I think I remember reading somewhere that statistically England were a better side when Burgess was on the pitch…I couldn’t tell you where I read it or which statistics were better, mind you.




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  7. Probably the final opportunity to play Daly at 13 now gone which is a pity. Hope he plays a hell of a lot better for England than he has been for Wasps. I would certainly have gone for Brown. Eddie is wrong about Mako. He may be a world class forward but he is not by any means the best scrummaging loose head around and I fancy Furlong to make him very uncomfortable. If there are a lot of scrums I think we will start to get shunted backwards, particularly in the absence of Launchbury who to me is different class to Kruis and certainly pushes harder. The problem of the slow-passing Youngs at 9 remains and I entirely agree with Darth Maul about Tuilagi, who looks more like a diesel than a turbo and needs a lot more game time. Henshaw and Ringrose will do him for pace. Will be interested to see how Curry goes as I suspect he is not quite ready at this level. Don´t fancy our chances at all. Ireland by 12 and too many issues still unresolved.




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    1. Pragmatic approach AL. Jones is Teresa May-like in his dogged, blinkered beliefs. Agree. He’s basically, inadvertently, setting Daly & England up for a fall. Also this WC stuff about Marko V; if he is is so WC, he shouldn’t get bettered @ scrum. Full stop! Also, Sinckler may also struggle here. Ok in the open when going fwd, but will he get the chance? Tui? A punt in not his fav posi. He & Slade will both have to excel when in possession which may be ltd. Fingers xxed time.. again?




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  8. So, if any of the back and second row gets injured we’ll have Lawes and Hughes covering any one of 6,7,8 and 4and 5! Now, I’m no genius but basic maths says that is bloody risky and secondly, I really can’t see Hughes a seven for example.
    Add in Daly at 15 and I don’t get what all the optimism is about. Oh, just to put the cherry on it, no Cokanasiga off the bench? Choking ,eddie?




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    1. Acee, you are making a bit too much is this. This is a fairly standard bench selection. Hughes covers 6 and 8. Wilson covers 7. It might have been preferable to have Shields covering 6,7 and Wilson covering 8. In dire emergency, lawes or itoje cover 6. Or would you pick no lock on the bench?
      Who realistically would you have on the bench instead? Can you pick someone that is around the England squad like Mercer or Hill? Armand is nowhere near the squad (however much we would like him to be) so not him.




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  9. Pack especially & team fairly predictable, lacking in some imagination? I’d have had Launchbury in for Kruis as the latter misses too many important lineouts. The former is a better footy player with more nous, variety. Also, as another/s has/have commented, Sincker better be able to scrummage. Dropping Cole seems mindless. With Teo out, Jones’ hand was forced into picking Tui (out of his fav posi). I’d also gone with Jones preffing Cocka, but JC’s out too, so choice easier with Nowell. Later may have played anyway. Who knows.. well, EJ apart i.e.? Jones seems to have never entertained Daly @ centre, so f/back it it. ED better wear Velcro gloves though, because unless England dominate up front, he could be exposed plenty. Brown was surely the only choice v Ireland away, but.. well, Jones has always been a bit of a stick in the mud @ heart. His picks prove it for me. Barring other & current injuries, this is the WC team chaps. Good enough for a Dublin ‘W’.. & then a WC ditto? A def maybe I think.




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