Six Nations 2020: England team to play Ireland

Jonathan Joseph

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his 23-man squad to play Ireland in the third round of the Guinness Six Nations at Twickenham Stadium (KO 3pm live on ITV1).

In the front row Joe Marler, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler are named with George Kruis and Maro Itoje in partnership in the second row.

Courtney Lawes is named at blind-side flanker with Sam Underhill at openside and Tom Curry at number 8.

Ben Youngs starts at scrum half with Willi Heinz named as a finisher. George Ford and captain Owen Farrell will play fly half and inside centre. Manu Tuilagi is named at outside centre, returning to the side after missing the Scotland match through injury.

Elliot Daly is selected at full back with Jonathan Joseph, who will win his 50th cap this weekend, and Jonny May on the wings.

Charlie Ewels is named as a finisher alongside hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, props Ellis Genge and Will Stuart and lock Joe Launchbury. Ben Earl, who made his England debut against Scotland is also named in the match day 23, as is Henry Slade who returns from injury.

Jones said: “We’ve had a really good training week with Thursday probably our best session of the Guinness Six Nations.

“Ireland are a very good team, extremely well-coached. They are a team we respect a lot. They will bring their usual physicality and under Andy Farrell they’ve opened up their game a little bit.

“They are a tactically smart team. Murray and Sexton, who have played 170 Tests between them, at nine and 10 will manage the game well. We’ve got to make sure we match their physicality and their emotion on the weekend.

“We trained at Twickenham Stadium in front of 10,000 fans last Friday and we can’t wait to get back out there in front of 80,000 people on Sunday.”

England starting XV
15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 41 caps)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 54 caps)
13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 41 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 81 caps) C
11 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 49 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 67 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 97 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 69 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 47 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 33 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 36 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 43 caps)
6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 83 caps)
7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 17 caps)
8 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 21 caps)

Finishers
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 16 caps)
18 Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 63 caps)
20 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
21 Ben Earl (Saracens, 1 cap)
22 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 11 caps)
23 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 27 caps)

52 thoughts on “Six Nations 2020: England team to play Ireland

  1. Extraordinary, and not in a good way.

    It is difficult to understand Jones thinking with this selection which contains far too many questionable calls.

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    1. NO. Apparently Joseph is a better winger than Thorley. And is in fact the second best in England after May
      Who knew!

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    1. I genuinely dont know what he’s trying to prove with this team. He doesn’t HAVE to select players out of position. He doesn’t HAVE to pick 5 locks, and he doesn’t HAVE to go for 6:2 bench split with the player covering the outside backs not having played a game in over 2 months.
      There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for some of these madcap picks.
      Puts the pressure even on more on him to produce a winning performance.

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      1. Christ. It hadnt even occurred to me that the one replacement for all the outside backs is not just injury prone but has literally just returned from a 2 month lay off

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  2. Oh my golly, golly gosh ! Look at all those caps and does this feel a remotely settled or balanced team !!???

    I am afraid that there are too many people playing out of position and too many players who should be out on there ear for this team selection to even warrant a considered response.

    Never knew that Joseph was a wing contender…

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  3. oh lordy lord. We are going to get a turning over. I suspect EJ has lost the dressing room already but rugby still being respectable, players are unlikely to come out with much in the press (unless you’re Finn Russell) and still wear the shirt with pride, even if frustrated and fed up of playing out of position.

    I wouldn’t be surpised if EJ selections are based upon some odd ‘heros and villans’ boardgame he plays whilst in front of an open fire, sipping a 12 yr old malt and smoking a cigar. Rolls a dice, moves a piece ‘bam – your dead Furbank’….

    Anyone remember the comedy film Spaceballs?? If they do the above would be like the scene Lord Helmet is caught playing with his space figures….

    EJ has to go. I have no more to say.

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    1. Have you read anywhere the EJ has lost the dressing room?
      I’m a bit bewildered at the selection but it’s a bit of a long shot to link that to your point.

      1. I haven’t Jake – but that’s what my comment was eluding to if you re-read e.g. players being respectful and keeping lips sealed…..but I have a gut feeling he has and it may come out post 6N if (i hope) EJ is shunted.

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  4. Another batsmit selection. I’m all for experimentation but how about picking new players and drip feeding them in, expose them to the game and help build new structures? No?

    I genuinely don’t care if we win. I’ve really struggled getting behind England lately with the idiotic media comments, the Sarries saga, the shafting of the championship by the RFU and EJ dubious selections and tactics. If we lose the rest of the games then maybe we can get shot of EJ and have a team with the best players in their positions actually playing in their positions playing a gameplan that involves not following a rigid script to the death.

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        1. Baxter? And he’s English. McCall, who’s not. Darth Vader. Who’s neither. Or, irony of ironies, Joe what’s ‘is name? Who is also free. Vern Cotter, although unlikely, could be a shrewd choice nevertheless. Pragmatic, no nonsense tactically astute, all court aware & does his talking on the field! I suppose Gatland’s out of the question? Or Erasmus? All in a pipe dream? Think so. For this yr at least & dependent upon 6N results. If the rest of it goes well though, as it could er, well do, then will it likely depend on the following 6N? Maybe, but what price on Ed getting a 2 yr extension after that?

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          1. Would Baxter and Cotter not result in a similar style of play? You stated yourself it would be pragmatic, not the free flowing, flair we all crave. Exeter are regularly criticized for their style of play so not sure what that would solve. Erasmus as well devised a simple game plan for the Boks.
            McCall would be an interesting one but he wouldn’t leave Saracens until they’re back up and even then i think he’s waiting for the Ireland job.

            1. Well Cotter & Schmidt together won the T14 with Montoellier (? I think) & they chucked it around a bit at times. Leinster certainly did. VC pragmatic in the sense that he’ll play to his team ‘s strengths, but is not restricted to either, or, R1& passing it. Baxter & McCall dominate in the fwds & to create space out wide, so may be more if an issue for them if held up front? Erasmus clinched the final with backline tries in the last 1/4.

  5. Shame for Furbank, turned it around and acquitted himself well v Scotland. Better weather would’ve allowed him to show his attacking flair. With Watson out too we have to resort to Daly …not ideal.
    I did see Thorley with heavy knee strapping so maybe there is an injury there. JJ on the wing is not a place, I’m sure, even he wants to be.
    The pack looks decent though, I think the gameplan will be similar to how we played in the Summer, which reaped rewards so not all hope is lost. Some exciting impact subs, and Ewels who needs a big game by his own admissions, so I’m expecting a big shift from the front 5 for the first 50-60 minutes.

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  6. For God’s sake! Is this a joke? Jj being anonymous on the wing! Ewels! Another mullering of the back row awaits.
    Someone put Eddie in a cannon and fire him out over HQ. He really is a rugby troll disguised as a coach…
    I have had enough of this aimless s##t.

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    1. Can someone tell me what the justification is for having average journeyman Ewels as the 5th lock on the bench?! And Lawes at 6 never works. Plus Jj never does anything in attack on the wing! Give me strength!
      Is Jones out to destroy English rugby?!

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      1. What is really annoying about seeing useless Ewels given another cap is all.The fantastic players who Eddie won’t pick. A million scrum halves; Dombrandt; Armand from days of yore; Cippers… He has his silly favourites and seems to ignore others out of sheer spite..
        Am sick of Eddie ruining the 6 nations for England fans…

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        1. It was to do with yr cannon firing over HQ & troll resembling coach remarks Bolter. Some here may occasionally wish a similar fate on me for resembling a trolling ‘coach’. My response slipped out of sync down the table though.

  7. Seriously? Ewels at 6? Against the Irish backrow? Eddie is really having a good old giraffe at our expense. A cannon is too good for him…

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  8. I become more than ever convinced that Jones is being paid by the Southern Hemisphere countries to completely sabotage the future of English rugby. This is a complete joke selection. Five second rows, one of whom (Ewells) is not International class, a windy full back who doesn´t like tackling or catching the high ball, an undistinguished centre who has hardly ever played on the wing even for his club, picked out of position to go up against a real flier, and still no proper number 8 or balance in the back row. Most depressingly of all, having finally given Heinz a run out in appalling conditions against Scotland, he now goes back to Youngs who has conclusively proved over the past two years that he is not good enough. Add to that the fact that Tuilagi is unlikely to be fully match fit, and it looks as if we may well get a tonking. Have just been on to Superbru to change my prediction. Can anyone even suggest what he thinks he is playing at? On another subject, this is supposed to be a blog about English Rugby. Why are we getting a weekly analysis of the Super Rugby Games but nothing on the Premiership? Half the players who should be in the England squad are playing in it regularly!

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    1. The penny has finally really dropped Andy. The SH & S Rugby are definitely out to sabotage English rugger! And into the bargain, if you’d managed to get up before cock crow, you could’ve seen Canterbury showing you how to actually play. Nonetheless, still think England, at home, won’t be easy to clobber.

  9. Yes. Didn’t see this coming. Hard to fathom some pics again. Bet JJ never saw this one coming either. Unless Thorley’s not 100%, surely he ought to have been in over the out if posi Joseph. Or why not have just stuck with Daly & Furbank? And why is Lud omitted for Lawes? Can’t be for HIS talking it up can it? Only reason I can venture again, is that Jones is picking a fear based team. His fear, that is. Just doesn’t make sense to, for instance, choose Furbank for two, only to dropped, at HOME, for this one. Likewise Lud must be really pissed off with his omission. Can’t do much for their or team morale. Some may wonder whom’ll be next. Ed’s gone short term conservative it seems. For me he appears to have a eye on his own future rather than that of his team. Seeking not to lose, rather than going out to take it by the scruff for an out & out win, as in Dublin a yr ago. Still think home advantage will help account for an England win, but they’ll have to particularly better the Irish back row. Should hold up in the scrum & line out. A load on Tui to penetrate too, so he’d better not break down.. again.

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    1. If there’s been one consistent thing in EJ’s tenure it is head scratching selection choices. I expect that to continue as long as he’s in the chair.

    2. I’ve heard that Furbank IS actually injured, hence Daly’s & JJ’s selections. However, it would still would have been logical to have played Thorley at wing. As it’s not to be now, then when? Can’t be that he’s too inexperienced surely. So was Furbank 2 games ago. As an aside, Ed’s gaffed again with a ‘1/2 Asian’ remark in response to a reporter’s question about meditation. As long as England keep winning, he’s likely fire proof, but if England start losing, isn’t he supplying ammo for his being shot?

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  10. I read somewhere that Eddie wrote in his book that losing world cup finals makes a coach go bonkers. I was going to say I assume this nutcase selection is due to that but we have been down this road to nowhere before in 2018 and Eddie seems to have learnt sweet F A from it.
    He sees himself.as a rugby messiah who Can walk on water. A lot of the time unfortunately he just drowns dragging the players and fans down with him. His successes and up being down to luck as much as anything else.
    When you think of the huge player resources he has at his disposal these selection.errors are downright criminal and must be very demoralizing for the talented players shut out in the cold.

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  11. Along with others have concluded Jones has to go next year.Lunatic selections.He is far beyond his sell by date and is damaging English rugby.I really don’t care if we lose on Sunday and then to Wales to provide Sweeney with the evidence to get shot of him.Recommend Pat Lam to replace-great track record at Connaught and Bris Polynesian/NZ culture.A hard nosed forward no Australian crap about greatest team ever.

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  12. The best thing about this team selection is the amount of sardonic wit it’s generated amongst the faithful on this thread. as many others have said, I’m actually hoping we get spanked on Sunday because it might just move the RFU to get their arses in gear and show Jones the door.

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  13. I know a few here are peaved with this selection & which does contain some odd picks for me as well. However, apart from JJ (Thorley instead?) on the wing, Lawes at 6 & Curry at 8, a positional change from 8 to 7 for Curry with A N Other (say Earls?) slotting into the latter’s 8 posi & with Underhill swapped with Lawes, at 6 & who could be benched, the team would have a better look & balance to it, wouldn’t it? Additionally, this selection would only require 2 actual personnel changes & a couple of reshuffles. Not my ideal team, but It would nevertheless make more sense to me than the actual one’s composition.

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  14. Does anyone think that EJ is testing the RFU’s patience with his team selections? The team looks so unbalanced on paper and stand out form players are not being picked…

    1. Yes, although surely inadvertently. Agree that the selection is unbalanced to the extent that I thought it had been picked by a particular AWOL punter from these pages.

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