Owen Farrell returns to fly-half as England reveal Six Nations team to face Scotland

Eddie Jones has opted for Farrell over George Ford, who drops to the bench for Saturday's Calcutta Cup showdown

Duncan Bech
Thursday 04 February 2021 11:34
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Owen Farrell has been selected at fly-half to take on Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham to kick off England's Guinness Six Nations defence.

It means that George Ford drops down to the bench for the time since the 2019 World Cup quarter-final victory over Australia, with head coach Eddie Jones opting for muscle in the form of Farrell, Ollie Lawrence and Henry Slade.

Ford was absent during Autumn due to an Achilles injury but regained fitness in time to orchestrate wins over over Wales and France.

It will be Lawrence's fourth cap and first Six Nations appearance and the Worcester inside centre will be given the role of midfield battering ram at which he showed promise during the Autumn Nations Cup.

READ MORE: Six Nations 2021 TV schedule: Channels, times and how to watch online

Apart from the adjustment made at fly-half and 12, Jones has retained the same backline that sent France spinning to defeat in sudden death at Twickenham two months ago.

The vacancy created by Sam Underhill's hip injury sees Tom Curry move across the back row to openside and Mark Wilson slots in at blindside flanker for his first Test appearance since March.

Wilson has beaten Ben Earl to the available flanker position and the rising Saracens star, who is on loan at Bristol, continues to supply cover.

Courtney Lawes missed the entire autumn because of an ankle injury but he must settle for a replacement role with Jonny Hill preferred as Maro Itoje's partner in the second row.

England's depth at prop is tested by Kyle Sinckler's ban for swearing at a referee and the unavailability of Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler, providing starting opportunities for Ellis Genge and Will Stuart.

Owen Farrell releases the ball during an England team training session at The Lensbury in Teddington

Beno Obano is the only uncapped player in the 23 and the Bath loosehead will make his debut if he comes on for Genge.

England will face Scotland for the 139th time in a match that marks 150 years since the rivals clashed in the first ever international rugby match.

"We're really looking forward to this game and getting the Six Nations back underway. It's even more special to be taking part in a 150th anniversary game, it will be a good occasion," Jones said.

"It was difficult to pick the 23 players. We've had a really good week of training, it's been very competitive but I've gone with what I feel is the strongest 23 for this week.

"The Six Nations is a short tournament, it's a real sprint so we'll need to be on the front foot straight away. We know Scotland will be raring to go - but so will we."

READ MORE: Six Nations 2021: Five players who could light up tournament

Eddie Jones talks to Billy Vunipola

England team vs Scotland

15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 47 caps)14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 46 caps)13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 34 caps)12. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 3 caps)11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 61 caps)10. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 88 caps)9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 104 caps)

1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 23 caps)2. Jamie George (Saracens, 54 caps)3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 8 caps)4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 43 caps)5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 4 caps)6. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 19 caps)7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 28 caps)8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 56 caps)

Finishers

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 26 caps)17. Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, uncapped)18. Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 85 caps)20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 8 caps)21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 7 caps)22. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 72 caps)23. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)

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