England’s Marler benched for Nations clash

England have named Joe Marler on the bench for Saturday’s Six Nations rugby showdown with France in Paris after making two changes to their starting line-up.

Mako Vunipola is preferred to Marler at loosehead prop and Danny Care replaces Ben Youngs at halfback in the only adjustments, as the newly crowned Six Nations champions seek to complete a first clean sweep since 2003.

Marler was cleared to play at the Stade de France late on Wednesday evening after escaping sanction from the rugby judiciary for striking Wales prop Rob Evans and abusing a second front-rower by calling Samson Lee “gypsy boy”.

Despite the 25-year-old’s unexpected availability – he pleaded guilty to both offences that occurred in the first half of last weekend’s 25-21 victory at Twickenham – he must settle for a spot among the replacements.

“We’ve picked our best 23 who we know can get the job done in Paris,” coach Eddie Jones said.

“Everyone wants to be on the field this Saturday so selection was nip and tuck. Danny Care starts at scrum-half with Ben Youngs finishing the game. Mako Vunipola comes in at loosehead for Joe Marler who will make an impact off the bench.”

England: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, George Ford, Danny Care; Billy Vunipola, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (capt), Mako Vunipola. Res: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Kieran Brookes, Joe Launchbury, Jack Clifford, Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly.

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