Joe Marler has made a remarkable recovery from a fractured leg to start at loose-head for England’s Six Nations clash against France on Saturday, while Elliot Daly has been preferred to Jack Nowell on the wing.
Elsewhere, Eddie Jones has named Maro Itoje at blindside and Tom Wood at openside.
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Marler’s inclusion is a huge boost for England given he fractured his leg three weeks ago but he packs down in a pack which sees him join captain Dylan Hartley and tight-head Dan Cole in the front-row.
With George Kruis nursing a knee injury picked up in training this week, Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes get the nod in the second-row with Itoje shifting to blindside to replace the injured Chris Robshaw. Itoje is joined in the back-row by Wood and Nathan Hughes.
Ben Youngs and George Ford link up again at half-back with Daly joined by Jonny May on the wings. Owen Farrell and Jonathan Joseph continue in the centres while Mike Brown retains the fullback spot.
Joe Marler fractured his leg at the beginning of January but is fit to start against France on Saturday (Photo by Steve Bardens – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)
Nowell is named on the bench where James Haskell is included having last played for England in June due to a broken toe.
“We’ve been able to select a very strong and experienced team to play against France and we are excited to get the tournament underway,” said England head coach Jones. “There’s a great rivalry between the countries so we’re looking forward to a great occasion playing against one of England’s oldest foes.
“In rugby terms you’ve traditionally got two contrasting styles — French flair and England’s dogged conservative approach, but we want to be absolutely daring against the French in this first game and set the standard for the tournament.
“Guy Noves likes a big team. He picks a traditional French forward pack with squat front-rowers who scrummage well, big locks who give a lot of ballast and athletic back-rowers. It’s based on size and crunching that gain line, getting an off-load and then playing with flair. Of course this gives you an opportunity when you’ve got a big forward pack against you and we intend to exploit that.
“We want to get better all of the time, we are ambitious and we want to be the number one team in the world.
“It’s exciting to be back at Twickenham. We’ve got great supporters and we’re looking forward to hearing them turn the volume up on Saturday.”
England: Mike Brown, Jonny May, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley (captain), Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Tom Wood, Nathan Hughes
Replacements: Jamie George, Matt Mullan, Kyle Sinckler, Teimana Harrison, James Haskell, Danny Care, Ben Te’o, Jack Nowell
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18603640/joe-marler-elliot-daly-start-england-france
Marler and Daly start for England against France
www.espn.co.uk – RUGBY