Monday 19 February 2018

Jonathan Joseph likely to start for England opener as Elliot Daly sent back to Wasps

England's Jonathan Joseph
England's Jonathan Joseph

Jonathan Joseph appears set to start England's RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland after Elliot Daly was among the players sent back to their clubs.

Joseph and Daly were competing for the outside centre position at Murrayfield on February 6 but the Wasps back is one of 10 who will be in Aviva Premiership action this weekend.

Three players are on course to make their Test debuts in Edinburgh after prop Paul Hill, back row Jack Clifford and centre Ollie Devoto were named in the 23 retained at the squad's Surrey training base.

Clifford has won the race to offer back-row cover from the bench, with Josh Beaumont, Matt Kvesic and Maro Itoje also departing for their clubs.

Joe Launchbury and George Kruis are favourites to form the second-row partnership with Courtney Lawes likely to be included among the replacements, resulting in Itoje's departure.

Head coach Eddie Jones is thought to favour George Ford at fly-half and Owen Farrell at inside centre, so Devoto has been retained to provide midfield cover at 12.

In total there are 12 survivors from the matchday squad toppled 33-13 by Australia in October, a result that sealed England's World Cup demise.

England name their starting XV to face Scotland on Thursday week.

England 23-man squad retained for the RBS 6 Nations match against Scotland:

Forwards: D Cole (Leicester), J Clifford (Harlequins), J George (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, captain), J Haskell (Wasps), P Hill (Northampton), G Kruis (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), C Robshaw (Harlequins), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens). Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), O Devoto (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Bath), A Goode (Saracens), J Joseph (Bath), J Nowell (Exeter), A Watson (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester).

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