Six Nations 2020: England team to play Scotland

Owen Farrell

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his 23-man squad to play Scotland in the second round of the Guinness Six Nations at Murrayfield (KO 445pm live on BBC).

Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler are named in the front row with George Kruis and Maro Itoje selected in the second row.

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

Willi Heinz starts at scrum half with Ben Youngs named as a finisher. George Ford and captain Owen Farrell will play fly half and inside centre with Jonathan Joseph named at outside centre.

George Furbank, who made his England debut last weekend, is selected at full back with Elliot Daly and Jonny May on the wings.

Uncapped players Tom Dunn and Ben Earl are included as finishers with Joe Launchbury returning to the matchday 23 after recovering from injury.

Jones said: “Preparation this week has been great. We have sought to address the issues from the France game and have had a really good and sharp preparation for Scotland.

“Scotland are a dangerous side. They like to play with a lot of width and with a lot of flow and tempo in their game. We want to make sure we dominate the gain line.

“Their win record against England at Murrayfield is substantially higher than their overall record against us, so we have to recognise they are a dangerous beast and we have to be at our best to beat them.”

Dunn was recalled back into the squad after Luke Cowan-Dickie left camp this morning to be with his partner who has gone into labour.

England starting XV
15 George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps)
13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 48 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 80 caps) C
11 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 40 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 66 caps)
9 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 10 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 58 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 46 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 32 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 35 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 42 caps)
6 Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 7 caps)
7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 16 caps)
8 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 20 caps)

16 Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 15 caps)
18 Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 62 caps)
20 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 82 caps)
21 Ben Earl (Saracens, uncapped)
22 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 96 caps)
23 Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs, 2 caps)

69 thoughts on “Six Nations 2020: England team to play Scotland

      1. We have several alternatives Dazza, including Care and Spencer, but they are both playing too well at club level for EJ to pick them. He thinks it is a different game. Don’t have a problem with Heinz, he at least injects a bit of urgency, but Youngs has been given far too many chances and surely has to go soon. Glad to see Launch back in the squad, but we still need a number 8. Not sure what Marler did wrong last week. He was up against a good tight head and came out in credit.

        1. It was meant as a sarcastic comment Andy.
          I didn’t think that heinz was any better or worse than Youngs last week. He came on when England were getting back into the game, but did nothing to steer the ship. His passing from the base was no quicker or more accurate, and his decision making and leadership were no better than Youngs.
          I would rather see a young inexperienced scrum half on the bench to come on and inject real energy, urgency and pace. Randall, Mitchell, Spencer, Taylor, Maunder!?!?

          1. I disagree Heinz definitely added some more urgency when he came on and his passing was more accurate. He even had a snipe or two which I haven’t seen Youngs do in an age. While only a 5/10 he is better than Youngs who is 3/10

  1. Decent team. Eddie expecting a forwards battle so stacking the bench 6-2.
    I think the bench has some exciting players who should be able to bring added dynamism when introduced.
    Pleased for Dunn, though not sure whats happened to LCD.

  2. 4 locks and no back 3 cover on the bench. Mmmmm….interesting.
    Some positives but still the strong feeling that this team/squad isn’t as balanced or as good as it could be.

    1. Steve, agree, but Jones mostly persists with his views. Unsure what influence other coaches have. Edwards appears to have had an immediste impact with France in contrast. What would be yr ideal team though?

      1. I’d go with Mako, George, Sinckler, Lawes, Itoje, Curry, Underhill, Dombrandt, Spencer, Ford, May, Devoto, Joseph, Daly, Furbank.
        Plainly Jones isn’t going to drop Farrell but I would. I find it amazing that his limitations and poor form are ignored. I’d also have a recognised No 8 who can offer something as a carrier. Lawes is a lock and one of our best two in that position. As with the move of Curry back to flanker, i believe you get the best out of players by playing them in their regular positions where they are most comfortable.
        And I’m heartily fed up with selecting 2 utterly mediocre SH’s who wont get any better. Let’s at least try an alternative.

          1. I’d keep Daly in for now given Furbank’s jittery start. Thorley in week 3 at home vs Ireland with either Furbank having proved himself of Daly switching to fullback til Italy

            1. A couple of dropped balls I can understand. I’d persist with Furbank for now, at least until Watson regains fitness.
              Daly has not shown anything at FB or on the wing to make me think he’s an international back 3. He lacks the out and out pace of a winger and isn’t effective in the air. At FB, his tackling and defense in general is below par.

              1. What the same Daly who played 3 tests for the lions on the wing? It’s downright ridiculous to say he isn’t international standard..

                1. Why ridiculous Bolter? He was playing well at the time of the lions tour, now he is not. He certainly looks nothing like an international full back and is not tearing up trees at club level.

                2. Might sound crazy but I think you’d struggle to pick one game that he has played for England since where he’s turned up and impressed.
                  Sunday was more of the same, some poor kicks from hand, anonymous in attack, ineffective in the air. Had he been at FB Thomas would’ve run around him, luckily Furbank is a FB and could tackle him.
                  Serious question – would you really have Daly over Thorley in a back three? (hypothetical with Watson and May as the other 2).

                  1. Good points. Daley is not a stand out anything or hasn’t been for EJ. He might be a 13 but then he’s never been tried there internationally and at this rate we’ll never know.
                    To play a specialist wing every time! You don’t see SA doing this utility thing on the wing do you?
                    Thorley, Cokanasiga, Nowell, even Solomana every time over Daley at wing. It smacks of trying to fit in a good player, at whatever cost, into the team!

        1. Mako, George, Sinkler, Kruis, Itoje, Curry, Underhill, Dombrandt, Spencer, Farrel, May, Devoto*, Daley, Thorley*, Woodward.

          * Thorley replaced by Cokanasiga as soon as the latter is recovered.
          Devoto* replaced by Tuilagi as soon as he is recovered.

          Captaincy goes to Itoje or George.

            1. 1. Both forwards
              2. Both shoe-ins in their positions
              3. Both passionate players, especially Itoje who likes to gee up his players and himself of course (not a quiet, shy and retiring soul)!
              4. Itoje (25 yrs) has youth on his side like Carling (22 yrs old) had back in the day.
              That’s probably enough.
              Oh and their both Englishmen through and through!

              1. AD, so nous, ability to read a game, instigate or change tactics, deciding on going for 7 rather than 3 at a vital time, being a competent, clear communicator with team & ref, also being calm under pressure & so on aren’t important attributes in a captain then? That they’re fwds, or English (as you’re SO keen on Woodward), is surely irrelevant if they don’t possess most of the aforementioned attributes. Being passionate isn’t enough. Being a shoo-in is relevant because I’d imagine it’s difficult to captain a team from the side line. I’d have thought previous experience in the role might also be useful. Carling was 1 isolated e.g. & not typical. He was criticised for being responsible, at least in part, for using the wrong tactics in the 91(99?) WC final v Aus & tapping up Lady Di! Tut, tut. Enough to take his eye off the ball & lose respect. Mmm. Bit dodgy.

                1. True, both are untested as captain material. The obvious answer to that would be that everyone has to start somewhere. Maybe Itoje could be thrown the England v Italy game as a tester – there’s an idea.
                  Will Carling was a great captain. I’m not into character assassinations (too modern a trend and a bit ‘woke’ for me!). His sex life shouldn’t concern you or me. My attitude on that is the French one: introduce privacy laws and excise the silly puritanical British conflation of business and pleasure. No doubt Fabien Galthie has a mistress or two – who gives a shit; I don’t as long as his team’s doing well, which it did against England. French wives often don’t complain either and have a more realistic attitude to it though I wouldn’t practise the same myself – I’m British not French. Vive la France et allez les bleus aussi!
                  You’re not suggesting Woodward play 15 and be handed the captaincy….surely not! He’s part English anyway through blood – a grandparent I think so I wouldn’t have any probs there either; would you?
                  That’s a bit like having a problem with a PI or Vanuatuan captaining the ABs.

                  1. How about starting at the obvious place, their clubs? Chucking a novice into the Int’al deep end invites individual & team trouble. The rest is off piste waffle Alex D. You miss the point about Carling. His private life became his headline public life, which brought his judgement into question. Must have have affected him & in turn his team due to a loss of respect, belief in a ‘bounder’ as their captain. This was how he was perceived. I don’t personally care, but his character & credibility took a hit. Lost his team. That’s the point you’ve missed. The Galthie stuff is pure speculation & irrelevant. You’re also stereotyping the French & English. Subjective. No, I don’t have probs with Woodward, Eddie does. Why would I suggest he become England captain when he can’t make the team & hasn’t done the job before? Are you? Besides if he’d been good enough, he’d have been an AB in his country of birth. Perhaps you should email Jones about JW’s omission. I’m sure he’d read at least yr 1st sentence before deleting the thing. Stop stating bollocks. You’re reverting to type. It’s tedious.

                    1. Got your points; they’re good ones actually.
                      Ref stereotyping: I don’t believe so – at least not of the Frenchmen I’ve known. Funnily enough he was of the French ecole diplomatique so blue-collar and yes ‘stereo-typically’ had a mistress and wife. Stereo-types exist!
                      Carling was great whilst he lasted! His track record, in the job, was good. Things may have happened off the pitch, you’re right, that affected his later effectiveness. I think I’m broadly speaking in agreement with you.
                      Still waiting for Woodward!

  3. Happy to see Heinz start ahead of Young’s but i’d be happy to see an Ikea sideboard start ahead of him, the bench is shit 6/2 spilt in favour of forwards with scrum half and fly half/centre cover, needs to be 5/3 with wing/fullback cover.

    Eddie isn’t going to learn about Lawes either, he’ll come on at some point on the flank and be as ineffective as ever.

    Not sure why Cowan-Dickie has been dropped for Dunn and not happy with my boy Daly starting again, he’s not played well recently.

    I echo Leons comment about swapping Ludlam and Curry, I hope i’m wrong but I have a bad feeling about this one……..

  4. With the loss of two of our main ball carriers,the siutuation cries out for thinking outside the box in that more brains than brawn will be required in that we are going to have to move the ball at greater pace and variety.
    It seems to me that Jones is unwilling to grasp this particular nettle and drop Farrell to the bench,as he doesnt have the variety and control compared to Ford at 10,and lacks the pace,
    size and hands compared to Devoto at 12.Quite frankly without goal kicking this wouldnt even be a matter for debate,in any case Fords is just as good at present!
    Back row balance is better,if not perfect,though it is good to see Earl on the bench,obviously EJ is looking longer term with regards to 8 and 9.
    Too much selection in the past has been coloured by availability of Billy and Manu-this has led to too much short term thinking instead of advancing long term alternatives,particularly at 8 and 9.

    1. The real story of 2019 wasn’t Eddie fixing his mistakes it was that for the first time he had Manu and the Vunipolae available to play together. Without this happening, that victory over the ABs would very likely not have happened. This is not just because they are 3 essential players but because Jones has never evolved a successful strategy to win without them against the best teams.

        1. Now now Don, NZ didn’t lose that game because they had a lock at six, the same England didn’t lose to France because they had Curry at 8. Both Eng and NZ were respectively outplayed and could not respond in time.

          1. It was in the loose that NZ lost the game, not the lineout. Unrectified error til too late. Would an extra loose fwd like Cane (I think) injected early not have made a difference? Never know how much now, but orthodox back 3 seemed to work v SA, Ireland, Wales well enough.

          2. PS: In the end England lost by 7. Lawes, the lock at 6, was adjudged to have knocked it on for a French try. Arguably, if a specialist 6 had played, could he have caught that ball instead & saved 7 points?

    2. “obviously EJ is looking longer term with regards to 8 and 9.”
      Maybe so with 8 but not 9. Heinz is not a long term option, the guy is 33!! Looking long term would mean getting someone like Spencer or Randall in the squad.

  5. Tompkins picked to start against Ireland. Really fed up that Eddie didn’t bring him into the squad. There is zero evidence he would have gone to Wales if he had been picked for England and I would far rather see him play than JJ.

  6. The Tompkins situ is very frustrating. We have been playing without a proper 12 for some time now, and Tompkins has been showing promise for a few seasons now so why he wasn’t brought into the fold, even as a bench option, is ludicrous.

    I have a bad feeling about this game. I suspect many are expecting (or hoping) and England backlash from the embarrasment of last week but unfortunately I feel we are in for a similar game.

  7. I share your concern DM. This does not look like a side desperate to bounce back, and I suspect that the Sarries players must be a bit preoccupied. The issues at 8 and 12 also remain unaddressed.

  8. MV, Geo, Genge, Launch, Itoje, Underhill. Curry, Earl or Lud*, Heinz, Ford, May, Farrell, De Voto, Thorley, Daly.

    15 Furbank 14 May 13 Joseph 12 Farrell 11 Daly
    10 Ford 9 Heinz 1 Vunipola 2 George 3 Sinckler 4 Itoje 5 Kruis 6 Ludlam 7 Underhill 8 Curry

    Apart from getting my props mixed up (top) & forgetting about Kruis over Launch, seems Ed has ‘listened’, not to me, but perhaps to his (or others?) common sense, He has at least made some more objective selections in his starting team v Scotland. Heinz & Lud should facilitate quicker, more accurate ball with the former. Heinz seems to have an analytical mind when assessing where it wrong last time. See if it helps nxt up> Also a slightly better balanced back row with the latter, although the experiment with at Curry at 8 still perplexes. Could swap later with Lud if it goes tits up again I suppose, but personally I’d have played Curry v Italy, or at least at home to bed him in first. Either way, still unconvinced by this cobbling job. Also suppressing genuine 8’s. I’d have given De Voto a start too, or minimum meaningful game time. Hard on Furbank, but I would have put Thorley on the wing, moving Daly back to 15, given this squad. Furbank v Italy & or home, also makes more sense to me.

    Jock beware? Mmm. That’s what I intimated last time though, innit?! Er, England by 5.. or 20?!!

  9. Stacked bench with fwds, sure, but so did the Saffas in thwe WC final. Whilst prehaps not ideal, if Heinz is crocked, Youngs will obviously cover this. Also, with Ford, Farrell shifts in, iF Farrell, De Voto, Likewise JJ. iF wing, Daly with DV to 15?

    1. JJ covers the Wing
      Cover by position
      10 Farrell (Devoto to 12)
      11/14 JJ (Devoto to 13)
      13 Devoto
      15 Daly (JJ to 11, Devoto to 12)

      1. The real challenge come if you have 2 injuries to the backs or an injury to a player after you have subbed Devoto on as you end up with Youngs on the wing.

        What this tells me is that EJ has no intention of bringing Devoto off the bench to make a tactical change before the 75 minute mark

  10. Argghh just so tedious now.
    4 locks, players out of position, Ben Youngs still there, utterly out of form Daly still there, just 2 backs on the bench
    AND Joe Marler, one of very few players who can hold their head high after last week’s shambles dropped from the team entirely.
    I wonder what morale is like…
    This feels like a slow motion car crash.
    Who can blame Tompkins for discovering a Welsh granny? Apparently England had not been in touch at all. Someone has seriously dropped the ball there and it makes me wonder who else we’ll miss out on thanks to blinkered selection policies.
    Still, think we will probably win, it’ll just be a question of which team makes the least glaring errors.
    At least Finn Russell isn’t playing…

    1. I agree Pablito. This is rapidly starting to feel like the break up of the Beatles or the final days in the bunker.
      Everything goes in cycles and this has fin de siecle written all over it. Muddled, thinking, strange selections, internal discord a rash of injuries. I wonder how long it will be before Ed demands a thousand ton tank for his front row…………!

        1. No, a tank called the Ratte (or rat) that had a weight of 1,000 tons and was 115 feet long with two naval 15 inch guns on it. Was never built but did get designed as part of Hitler’s wunderwaffe or wonder weapons.

            1. No bloody use whatsoever Don. It was just one example of the increasingly desperate (Crazy?) ideas Herr Hitler came up with as the war rapidly came to it’s inevitable conclusion.
              Right now, looking from the outside in, Ed’s happy band camp has a tiny little bit of the same feeling of crazed desperation about it.

        1. Don´t disagree Leon, but the inference was that Wales were scouring the Prem more effectively for qualified players than England, which is undoubtedly true. EJ seems more interested in Kiwi´s who haven´t made the grade back home. Can´t be bothered to plough through the entire squad, but I reckon quite a few of the Welsh squad could easily have played for England if the grandparent rule was applied.

    2. I can appreciate not picking Tompkins last year or before, Lozowski was the man they thought would fill centre spot and that didnt materialise.
      But to not pick Tompkins after the barnstorming start to the season he’s had is mental. Even if it was to give him a taste of the England environment and maybe cap him to tie him to England.


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