By Adam Ellis
Eddie Jones has announced his squad to battle France in the Six Nations this Saturday and has been forced into a switch of captain as Dylan Hartley has been ruled out with a tight calf injury.
Owen Farrell will take up duties in the hooker’s absence for the trip to Paris and forms part of a backline that Jones has made two tactical changes to following the 25-13 defeat to Scotland. Can England bounce back? Check out openodds.com ahead of this weekend.
Elliot Daly returns from injury to replace long-term full-back Mike Brown among the back three, allowing Anthony Watson to don the 15 shirt for the Red Rose.
The change comes barely a month after Brown was named man of the match in the victory over Wales, which led Jones to condemn the media’s treatment of the Harlequins back.
In a post-match interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, the Australian said: “You guys [the media] tell me Mike Brown can’t play Test rugby… you guys are unbelievable!
“You’re always criticising him, now he has a good game you’re all on the bandwagon. You guys are better selectors than we are, that’s what you think you are.”
Brown takes a place on the replacements bench on the sidelines at Stade de France and is joined by Jonathan Joseph, who has been dropped after being terrorised by Huw Jones in Edinburgh.
The Bath centre is replaced by Ben Te’o as England look to take advantage of the outside channels against a France defence that has yet to concede a try scored by a forward or half-back in this year’s tournament.
Hartley, England’s second most-capped player in Tests with 92, is the only change among the forwards as Jamie George comes in and Luke Cowan-Dickie in on the bench.
Seeking redemption against France in Le Crunch, Jones commented on his squad selection, saying: “This game is about the opportunity for the team to move forward and we want a response from the players this week.
“Against France we want to be brutal and aggressive on the gain line and to play with a great tactical discipline.
“Owen will be very proud to be captain but at the same time he is disappointed for Dylan to miss out through injury and he knows the position of captain carries a lot of responsibility.”
England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Jonny May, 13 Ben Te’o, 12 Owen Farrell (Capt), 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Nathan Hughes
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 James Haskell, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Jonathan Joseph, 23 Mike Brown.