Jones plays safe in 1st England rugby game

Eddie Jones kept faith with the England players who underperformed in the Rugby World Cup in his first selection as head coach for Saturday’s opening Six Nations match against Scotland.

The only player named in the starting line-up on Thursday who wasn’t at the World Cup was Dylan Hartley, the controversial new captain. Hartley was serving a suspension during the tournament.

There are three uncapped players on the bench, however, in centre Ollie Devoto, prop Paul Hill and flanker Jack Clifford.

Jones, who took charge after Stuart Lancaster was fired following England’s failure to get out of the World Cup pool stage, has made some positional changes.

Former captain Chris Robshaw switches to blindside flanker to accommodate James Haskell on the openside, while Owen Farrell moves to inside centre from five-eighth, where George Ford starts.

Jones selected three vice-captains in Mike Brown, Farrell and Billy Vunipola.

The starting XV has 512 international caps, with Jones going for experience in what will be a hostile atmosphere for his first match.

“There were some tight calls on selection, but we have picked a match-day squad with a blend of experience and youth,” Jones said.

“We have prepared well and I am pleased with the progress the group has made in the short time we’ve had together.”

England: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, George Ford, Danny Care; Billy Vunipola, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (capt), Joe Marler. Res: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Paul Hill, Courtney Lawes, Jack Clifford, Ben Youngs, Alex Goode, Ollie Devoto.

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