Rugby Union: Jones takes care over England’s Six Nation’s opener team selection

England's Danny Care (left) during a training session at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot.
England's Danny Care (left) during a training session at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot.
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England have selected former Leeds Tykes star Danny Care at scrum-half and Joe Marler at loose-head prop for tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations match against Scotland.

Care has been preferred ahead of long-term rival Ben Youngs in the no9 jersey for the trip to Edinburgh, while Marler has been given the nod ahead of Mako Vunipola.

Back-row Jack Clifford, prop Paul Hill and centre Ollie Devoto are set to make their international debuts off the bench at Murrayfield.

Lock Courtney Lawes is included among the England replacements after passing a fitness test on his hamstring injury.

“There were some tight calls on selection,” said England head coach Eddie Jones, “but we have picked a match-day squad with a blend of experience and youth.

Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley leads a starting XV containing 512 caps – but no debutants – as England seek to retain the Calcutta Cup, which they have held since 2009.

Jones has announced that Owen Farrell – selected at centre – no8 Billy Vunipola and full-back Mike Brown have been appointed vice-captains to support Hartley.

Chris Robshaw is moved across the back-row to blindside flanker with James Haskell taking his previous position at open-side.

Jones’ solution to England’s perennial midfield conundrum is to field George Ford at fly-half and Farrell at inside centre in their second Test start together.

The other options at 12 – Henry Slade and Manu Tuilagi – are to miss all or a substantial chunk of the Six Nations through injury.

“The boys have worked hard since coming into camp to understand how I want the team to play going forward,” Jones added.

“We have prepared well and I am pleased with the progress the group has made in the short time we’ve had together.

“We are indebted to the work Stuart Lancaster has done over the last four years. I have inherited a talented and highly motivated group of players. We are confident we can go to Edinburgh and win, but we’re in no doubt it will be a huge challenge.

“Playing at Murrayfield in front of a passionate Scottish crowd will be a real test for this team but one I know we can rise to.”

Lancaster, Jones’ predecessor, gave three players debuts in his first match in charge – also at Murrayfield – and capped another four off the bench.

Elsewhere, Chris Ashton’s hopes of playing for England in the RBS 6 Nations Championship this season are over. An independent appeal committee has decided not to allow an appeal by the Saracens wing against a 10-week suspension.


Harrogate RUFC are facing a back-line crisis ahead of tomorrow’s challenging clash at home to promotion hopefuls Sedgley Park in National 2 North.

Barry Frost and Luke Edwards have added to a long list of injuries in the ’Gate squad, with director of rugby Mike Aspinall pondering a return to the field as a last point of call.

Harry Parrish (jaw), Steve Parsons (foot), Charlie Morgan (hand) and Jonny Giles (back) are also sidelined. Callum Irvine, Danny Matthews, Lewis Minikin and Sam Bottomley are the core first-team players fit to face the National Two North second-placed side.

Aspinall said: “We’re stretched from a back-line point of view. Sedgley Park are probably the best back line in the league so that will challenge us, but it will give top-class experience to some of the young players we have.”

Elsewhere, rivals Otley and Sandal entertain Macclesfield and Chester respectively, while Wharfedale host Blackheath in National 1.

Morley are on the road in North 1 East, at Beverley.

Tomorrow’s selected fixtures:

National 1: Wharfedale v Blackheath.

National 2 North: Harrogate v Sedgley Park, Otley v Macclesfield, Sandal v Chester.

RFU Junior Vase: Yarm v Wetherby.

National 3 North: Rossendale v Cleckheaton.

North 1 East: Beverley v Morley.

Yorkshire 1: Old Brodleians v Yarnbury, Old Crossleyans v York, West Park Leeds v Heath.

Yorkshire 2: Knottingley v Castleford, Leodiensian v Sheffield Medicals, Moortown v Ripon, Old Grovians v Barnsley.

Yorkshire 3: Aireborough v Leeds Medics and Dentists, Halifax v Bramley Phoenix, Harrogate Pythons v Rotherham Phoenix, Old Otliensians v Thornensians.

Yorkshire 4: Burley v Halifax Vandals.

Yorkshire 5: Hornsea v Wibsey.