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Tom Curry remains at No.8 for England’s Calcutta Cup clash

Tom Curry

England head coach Eddie Jones will persevere with using Tom Curry as cover at No.8, after naming his squad to face Scotland in the Six Nations.

The loss of Billy Vunipola to injury has created a big talking in Jones’ selection, heightened by the continued will to have Curry play in his place rather than form Premiership trio Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds or Teimana Harrison.

But the Australian stuck to his guns in the wake of a punishing opening round defeat at Stade de France, describing Curry as a player who can be ‘a Rodney So’oialo-type player – a mobile, hard-running 8 who has ball skills’.

Jones has made five changes from the side which bore the brunt of a new-age France at the weekend, going down 24-17.

The bulk of the changes come in the forwards with Mako Vunipola returning to the front row, as Joe Marler misses out on a place in the matchday-23.

Like with Marler there is also no place for Charlie Ewels in the squad which will play in Edinburgh.

A Saracens combination of Maro Itoje and George Kruis form the second row in the absence of the Bath captain.

Joe Launchbury returns from injury to be available for selection and takes a place on the bench, where he will be joined by Courtney Lawes who loses the blindside flanker role to Lewis Ludlam.

In the backs, Willi Heinz is preferred to Ben Youngs after being toyed with by Antoine Dupont in Paris.

And, with Manu Tuilagi out with a groin injury, Jonathan Joseph is handed his first start for England since the World Cup pool stage win over USA in Japan last September.

In a six-two split on the bench, uncapped duo Tom Dunn and Ben Earl could be in line for their debuts as reward for their club form with Bath and Saracens, respectively.

The dramatic 38-38 draw at Twickenham in last year’s tournament meant Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup – the first time they have done so since 1984.

Looking to silence his critics, Jones said he had been working on fixing what went wrong in France.

Jones said: “Preparation this week has been great. We have sought to address the issues from the France game and have had a really good and sharp preparation for Scotland.

“Scotland are a dangerous side. They like to play with a lot of width and with a lot of flow and tempo in their game. We want to make sure we dominate the gain line.

“Their win record against England at Murrayfield is substantially higher than their overall record against us, so we have to recognise they are a dangerous beast and we have to be at our best to beat them.”

Scotland v England (Saturday, Murrayfield, 4:45pm kick-off)

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price; 1 Rory Sutherland, 2 Fraser Brown, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Scott Cummings, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Magnus Bradbury

Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Nick Haining, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Chris Harris

England: 15 George Furbank, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell (capt), 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Willi Heinz; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Tom Curry

Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Ben Earl, 22 Ben Youngs, 23 Ollie Devoto

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