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6 Nations

Four Changes for England Ahead of Ireland Showdown

England have made four changes to their starting line-up ahead of this weekend’s clash with rivals Ireland and there is a surprise selection in the back-line

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

England head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed a total of four changes to his starting XV for this Sunday’s Six Nations game against Ireland in Twickenham Stadium at 15 00.

In the pack Joe Marler takes the place of Mako Vunipola, who misses the game through family reasons, while in the backs Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi and Jonathan Joseph come in. 

The only surprise being that regular centre Joseph will start on the wing for his 50th international test. 

Elsewhere it’s the same team that defeated Scotland last time out with Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler joining Marler in the front-row, with Maro Itoje and George Kruis behind them in the engine-room. 

Courtney Lawes continues at blindside-flanker, with Sam Underhill on the openside and Tom Curry is once again selected at No 8 despite many fans and pundits calling for him to be shifted back to the flank. 

Youngs links-up with George Ford in the half-backs, with captain Owen Farrell and Tuilagi outside them in the midfield pairing. 

Joseph starts on the left-wing, with Jonny May on the right and Elliot Daly shifts to full-back to complete the starting line-up. 

There is a six-two forwards to backs split on the bench with the likes of Luke Cowan-Dickie and Joe Launchbury among the replacements for the pack while Willi Heinz and the returning Henry Slade are cover for the backs. 

Speaking ahead of the game Jones believes that his team are well prepared for the clash but knows how dangerous Ireland can be. 

“We’ve had a really good training week with Thursday probably our best session of the Guinness Six Nations. Ireland are a very good team, extremely well-coached. They are a team we respect a lot. They will bring their usual physicality and under Andy Farrell they’ve opened up their game a little bit. They are a tactically smart team. Murray and Sexton, who have played 170 Tests between them, at nine and 10 will manage the game well. We’ve got to make sure we match their physicality and their emotion on the weekend. We trained at Twickenham Stadium in front of 10,000 fans last Friday and we can’t wait to get back out there in front of 80,000 people on Sunday,” he said. 

England will head into the game looking to get their championship title tilt back on track, but come up against an Ireland team hoping to seal a Triple Crown and continue their march towards a Grand Slam in what is set to be a massive encounter against two fierce rivals. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below. 

Starting XV: 

15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 41 caps)

14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 54 caps)

13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 41 caps)

12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 81 caps) C

11 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 49 caps)

10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 67 caps)

9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 97 caps)

1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 69 caps)

2 Jamie George (Saracens, 47 caps)

3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 33 caps)

4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 36 caps)

5 George Kruis (Saracens, 43 caps)

6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 83 caps)

7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 17 caps)

8 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 21 caps)

Replacements:

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)

17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 16 caps)

18 Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)

19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 63 caps)

20 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)

21 Ben Earl (Saracens, 1 cap)

22 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 11 caps)

23 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 27 caps)

6 Nations

Wales & France name side for 6 Nations restart

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Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has named his first squad in seven months as Wales kick off their Autumn campaign in Paris against France on Saturday (KO 21.10 local, ITV4 & S4C).

Captain Alun Wyn Jones will level the world record of test appearances when he makes his 148th international appearance (including 9 British & Irish Lions test caps). Jones will pack down alongside Cory Hill who makes his first start for his country since February 2019.
Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias and Samson Lee comprise the front-row with Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau featuring in the back-row.

Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar are named at half-back with Nick Tompkins partnering the returning Jonathan Davies in midfield. Josh Adams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny make up the back-three.
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said:


“The players are excited, it has been a long time, we can’t wait for Saturday.
“We have six matches this autumn and the game against France helps us get back into our stride international rugby-wise. We have picked an experienced side and are up against a good French team so we want to start this autumn well and get on the front foot for the Guinness Six Nations fixture against Scotland.


“We have talked already about how fortunate we are to be going about our work on a daily basis. A lot of people can’t do that and certainly within our organisation there are a lot of people not back at work.

From our point of view this Saturday is an opportunity to prepare for this tournament and for Scotland, but two, to put some smiles on faces and put on a good performance and make the nation proud.
On Alun Wyn Jones equalling the world record for test caps, Pivac said:

“It is a fabulous achievement. He epitomises what a great rugby player is all about. He is a true professional on and off the field and a gentleman of the game. On the field he leads by example and you can’t ask more of your captain and we are very privileged here in Wales to have him.

”Uncapped duo Sam Parry and Louis Rees-Zammit are both named on the bench for the test at Stade de France. Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies and James Davies complete the forward replacements with Gareth Davies and Rhys Patchell joining Rees-Zammit as the back-line cover.

France have also named their team.

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6 Nations

Scarlets provide updates on Williams & Owens

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(Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Liam Williams has recovered from a foot injury that has prevented him playing for the Scarlets so far this season. He has been released from the Wales squad to train with the Scarlets ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Benetton.

Ken Owens has undergone surgery on the shoulder injury he sustained against Glasgow and it is expected he will be unavailable for three to four months.

Josh Macleod has started his rehabilitation for a hamstring injury sustained against Glasgow. He will be targeting a return to play in December.

Scarlets also confirmed that Sam Lousi has been banned for a period of four weeks as a result of his red card in the Guinness PRO14 clash with Glasgow Warriors.

Lousi was shown a red card by referee Frank Murphy (IRFU) under Law 9.13 – a Player must not tackle an opponent early, late, or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling, or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulder even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.

The disciplinary hearing was handled by Roddy Dunlop (Scotland) and it was accepted that the player’s actions warranted a red card for foul play. The incident was deemed a mid-range offence, which carries a six-week suspension.

Due to the player’s previous disciplinary record (red card for punching incident, February 2020) the judicial officer could not offer full mitigation therefore, resulting in a four-week suspension.

Lousi is free to resume playing from midnight on November 9, 2020

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6 Nations

Scotland name squad for Autumn Internationals

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(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has named a 40-man squad for the forthcoming autumn international matches, which include the conclusion of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations and newly launched Autumn Nations Cup.

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend has named a 40-man squad for the forthcoming autumn international matches, which include the conclusion of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations and newly launched Autumn Nations Cup.

The squad features three uncapped players in Glasgow Warriors prop Oli Kebble, Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe and Harlequins scrum-half, Scott Steele. In the 23 forwards there are five players who did not feature in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations earlier in the year, with Glasgow Warriors trio Richie Gray (lock), Rob Harley (back-row/lock) and Kebble selected alongside London Irish flanker Blair Cowan, who won his last Scotland cap in 2016 and earns his first call up under Townsend. Scarlets’ Blade Thompson (back-row) also re-joins the squad having last featured at Rugby World Cup 2019.

In the 17 backs selected there are returns for Harlequins centre James Lang, who last featured in the national side during the summer of 2018, as well as Glasgow Warriors centre Nick Grigg and Edinburgh winger Damien Hoyland, alongside squad debutants van der Merwe and scrum-half Steele.

Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell also joins the squad, with an opportunity to earn his 50th Scotland cap during the campaign.Gregor Townsend said:

“We are very much looking forward to coming back together as a coaching and playing group after such an unprecedented and challenging period in our sport and across society in general. “There was a strong feeling that we were growing as a team during the Six Nations earlier this year, making progress from game-to-game as well as building closer bonds within the squad.

Our aim is to keep this momentum going as we take on Georgia and Wales before competing in the Autumn Nations Cup in November. “The squad we have selected is formed by the majority of the players we worked with in the Six Nations alongside players who have grabbed their opportunity in the past few weeks and have been in form for their respective teams. “Given the lack of games since March, there will be opportunities for players out-with the squad to break into our group over the next few weeks, but for now the focus is on this group that will be in camp from tomorrow.

It will be great to see some familiar faces, welcome a few back into our squad and also introduce some new players to Test match rugby.”

Scotland begin their autumn test matches at BT Murrayfield against Georgia on Friday 23 October before facing Wales in Llanelli on 31 October in the rescheduled 2020 Guinness Six Nations fixture.

The newly formed Autumn Nations Cup begins in November with Scotland in Pool B alongside France and Fiji who they will play at BT Murrayfield as well as an away test match against Italy.

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