There are four changes to the starting XV that lined up against Italy last week. In the backs, Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) replaces Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby) on the right wing and Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) replaces Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) who drops to the bench.
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) will pick up his 85th cap for his country on Saturday and will become England’s most capped scrum half of all time moving ahead of Danny Care (Harlequins)
Eddie Jones said: “It is the last week of the tournament so it’s exciting. It will be a fascinating finish to the Championship with three teams that can win it and we are playing against one of our most traditional foes in Scotland for the Calcutta Cup. We have had a good preparation and the side is going to be in a great state to play against Scotland on Saturday.
“Scotland is a difficult side, they are always at you, they play with a lot of enthusiasm and effort and have got a lot of attacking strings to their bow. Finn Russell is an exceptional player at 10 and they have got some pace on the outside so we are going to have to defend really well against them.”
On Ben Youngs’ record he added: “It is a fantastic achievement, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work and something he and his family will be really proud of. I am sure he will do the shirt great justice out there on Saturday.”
England starting XV (523 caps)
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 29 caps), 14 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 32 caps), 13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 21 caps), 12 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps), 11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 44 caps), 10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 69 caps) (captain), 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 84 caps), 1 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps), 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 36 caps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 21 caps), 4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 57 caps), 5 George Kruis (Saracens, 31 caps), 6 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 12 caps), 7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 9 caps), 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 40 caps)
Finishers (203 caps)
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps), 17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 8 caps), 18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 84 caps), 19 Brad Shields (Wasps, 7 caps), 20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 21 caps), 21 Ben Spencer (Saracens, 2 caps), 22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 54 caps), 23 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors 17 caps).
Leinster and Ireland Star Signs New Contract
One of Ireland’s key men has signed a new two-year deal with the IRFU
The prop is one of the country’s most consistent performers and is delighted to have the opportunity to continue representing both province and country.
“Pulling on a Leinster or an Ireland jersey is something that I have always taken a huge amount of pride in and I am thankful for every opportunity I get. I am delighted therefore to have extended my IRFU contract and to continue to line out for Leinster. I believe that we have built something special at Leinster and with the national team and I want to contribute as best I can to both teams in what will be a hugely exciting few months and years ahead,” he said.
Healy has faced a number of serious injuries over the years but has thanked everyone at club and national level for their support and looks forward to the future with both.
“There has been some difficult times over the last few years for me personally with injury but the support within the Leinster and the Irish rugby family was very humbling from fellow players, coaches and supporters and it’s something that I won’t forget. It made this decision all the easier knowing that I was part of something bigger than just a rugby team. I hope to play my part in helping Leinster and Ireland achieve further success over the next few years and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in that journey,” he added.
Having been capped by Ireland 88 times since his debut in 2009 and holding 207 Leinster caps to his name already Healy is almost ever-present and IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora paid tribute to his consistency.
“Cian is performing at a very high level week in and week out. He works incredibly hard in ensuring that he is physically in the best condition to perform and has bounced back from adversity to return to the top of the international and club game. He will continue to be a leading performer for Ireland and Leinster over the coming years,” he said.
Healy has represented Ireland at two World Cups (2011 and 2015) and will be hoping to be heading to a third in Japan later this year, he also represented the British and Irish Lions in 2013.
As well as that Healy has a host of winner’s medals to his name with three Six Nations Championships in the bag for Ireland, while with Leinster he has won four European Cups, three Guinness Pro titles and a Challenge Cup.
O’Shea to be Replaced as Italy Head Coach
Conor O’Shea is set to pass on the reins following the Rugby World Cup in Japan
The Italian Rugby Federation are yet to comment on the matter. However, the South African side have made the announcement and wished their current head coach the best of luck in a deal that is set to run until 2023.
“Franco was offered the opportunity to coach the Italian national side from 1 January 2020. The Board of Directors see this as a great opportunity for Franco and is proud of the fact that so many top coaches have been developed by the Free State Cheetahs. The Board of Directors is proud of and wishes Franco the best of luck with the opportunity to coach on an international level until the next world cup in 2023,” they said in a statement.
The statement also confirmed that Smith will remain with the Cheetahs for the Currie Cup to provide a smooth take-over in management, with the new head coach to come in for the start of the Pro 14 season.
However, it remains to be seen whether O’Shea who has earned praise from the likes of Italy captain and legend Sergio Parisse for his work behind the scenes, will be offered a different role with the men in blue.
In his current role he is more of a director of rugby overseeing more than just the men’s national side and there has been huge development on the club scene with Benetton reaching the Pro 14 play-offs for the first time ever this season.
Having performed in a directing role at both London Irish and Harlequins before it would allow O’Shea to focus on one task and may even benefit the country’s development. Either way he will hope to finish on a high when his side head to Japan later in the year.
Munster End Terrible Week on a High with New Contracts
After a hard week for Munster fans the club has given them something to cheer about heading into the weekend
Munster’s Tadhg Beirne and Craig Casey have signed contracts keeping them at the club to give fans something to smile about following a tough week.
Beirne, who signed for the men in red last summer on a two-year deal has signed with the IRFU and Munster for a further two years extending his stay down south to 2022.
The versatile forward has made 20 appearances for the province this season, winning man of the match awards on five of those occasions as well as scoring two tries along the way.
The other signing is of academy scrum-half Craig Casey, who has put pen to paper on a development contract for next season with a full contract beginning at the start of the 2020/21 season.
Casey played a key role in Ireland’s Under 20 Grand Slam success and had attracted interest from rivals Leinster, but the Munster academy player of the year will stay on the red side of the country.
The retention of two key men will come as a relief to those involved at the club after the announcement earlier in the week that coaches Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones will be departing when their contracts expire in the summer.
The news came as a shock to most as head coach Johann van Graan, must now rebuild his back-room set-up, however, this is the silver lining of their week.
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