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Jones set to unleash 'Bomb Squad' on Scots


Eddie Jones. Photo: PA

Eddie Jones. Photo: PA


Eddie Jones. Photo: PA

England will unleash their own version of South Africa's 'Bomb Squad' after Eddie Jones took the unconventional decision to name six forwards on his eight-man bench, as well as making three changes to his starting pack, to face Scotland at Murrayfield tomorrow.

Jones believes the deployment of such forward power could prove decisive in the mission to reclaim the Calcutta Cup and insisted his side were still capable of winning the Six Nations title despite the defeat by France last Sunday.

It is only the fourth time in Jones's tenure that he has opted to stack his replacements bench with an extra forward - the conventional split is five, with three backs. The last time he did so was against South Africa in Cape Town in June 2018.

It was a tactic the Springboks perfected on the way to winning the World Cup in Japan, including their victory over England in the final, allowing head coach Rassie Erasmus to introduce six fresh forwards, self-styled as the 'Bomb Squad' because of their destructive impact around the hour mark.

Now Jones, who has since recruited Springbok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot, has opted for a similar selection.

"We think it's going to be a high-volume, high-intensity game in the forwards," Jones said. "We've got an obvious game plan against them. We're not hiding from the fact that we want to take them on up front."

It is the pack that bears the brunt of the total of five changes from the side who lost to France. Joe Marler, Charlie Ewels (who had already been cut from the squad earlier in the week) and Courtney Lawes are omitted from the starting XV.

Meanwhile, George Kruis's cameo in Paris earns him a return. The backline lose trusted lieutenant 96-cap Ben Youngs. Willi Heinz starts his first Six Nations - also his first time for a full-bore international.

Youngs has been off colour and Heinz deserves his chance, even if at 33 he is not likely to be around by the next World Cup.

Irish Independent