Eddie Jones kept faith with the England players who underperformed in the Rugby World Cup in his first selection as head coach for the Six Nations match against Scotland on Sunday.
The only player named in the starting lineup on Thursday who wasn’t at the World Cup was hooker Dylan Hartley, the new captain. Hartley was serving a suspension during the tournament.
There were three uncapped players on the bench, though, in center Ollie Devoto, prop Paul Hill, and flanker Jack Clifford.
Jones, who took charge after Stuart Lancaster was fired following England’s failure to get out of the World Cup pool stage, has made some positional changes. Former captain Chris Robshaw switches to blindside flanker to accommodate James Haskell on the openside, while Owen Farrell moves to inside center from flyhalf, where George Ford starts.
Jones selected three vice-captains in Mike Brown, Farrell, and Billy Vunipola.
The starting XV has 512 international caps, with Jones going for experience in what will be a hostile atmosphere for his first match.
“We have prepared well and I am pleased with the progress the group has made in the short time we’ve had together,” Jones said.
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Asked why there weren’t more fresh faces to start the new era, he added: “We picked the best 23 for this game.”
Jones is just two months into his position, while Hartley – a controversial choice as captain because of his history of indiscipline – was given the armband only last week.
“Timing isn’t an excuse for us. We’ll be prepared,” Hartley said. “It’s been a crash course, getting to know people better.”
Winger Chris Ashton’s appeal against the severity of a 10-week suspension for making contact with the eyes of an opponent in a European club game was rejected on Thursday. He will miss the entire Six Nations, which runs to March 19.
England: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, George Ford, Danny Care; Billy Vunipola, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (captain), Joe Marler. Reserves: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Paul Hill, Courtney Lawes, Jack Clifford, Ben Youngs, Alex Goode, Ollie Devoto.