England head coach Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones sticks with Farrell-Slade-Lawrence in England backline to face Ireland

England head coach Eddie Jones has named an unchanged backline to face Ireland in their second match of the Autumn Nations Cup.

Captain Owen Farrell will once again lead the side from fly-half, as George Ford takes his place among the replacements after gaining full fitness from an Achilles injury he has been managing.

Henry Slade and Ollie Lawrence continue as the centre pairing and will go head-to-head with Ireland duo Bundee Aki and Chris Farrell.

Changes for England come in the pack after their 40-0 win over Georgia last weekend. Props Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler replace Ellis Genge and Will Stuart for the match at Twickenham.

The hosts have claimed victory in the last three meetings between the two nations, the last coming in February when England ended Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes in the Six Nations in a match that ended 24-12.

Sam Underhill, who played in that match nine months ago, is back at openside flanker after a facial wound suffered against Italy last month healed.

His inclusion comes after the release of Jack Willis from the England squad by Jones, following his try-scoring debut against Georgia.

The return of the Bath back row replenishes England with their dominant World Cup trio of Tom Curry, Underhill, and Billy Vunipola at the rear of the scrum.

Maro Itoje switches back to the second row to partner Joe Launchbury, with Exeter Chiefs double-winner Jonny Hill back among the replacements following Charlie Ewels dropping out of the squad.

Jones said: “I’ve picked the strongest team possible for the most important game of our season.

“We have the highest respect for the Ireland and their coach Andy Farrell.  They’ve had good preparation with two wins and a dominant display against Wales, and we will need to be at our best on Saturday.

“We’ve trained well this week, we’re expecting a tough, physical game against Ireland and we’ve reflected that in our sessions.  We’ll look to lift our performance even higher and are looking forward to a really good game of rugby.”

England team to play Ireland in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup (Saturday, 4pm kick-off, Amazon Prime/Channel 4)

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonathan Joseph, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Henry Slade, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Joe Launchbury, 6 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 George Ford, 23 Max Malins

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