Bagshot - Nathan Hughes was recalled by England coach Eddie Jones on Thursday
in the only change to the Six Nations champions' starting side for this
weekend's Calcutta Cup clash away to Scotland.
The Wasps No 8, who
has been out of Test action since suffering a knee injury while on club
duty in December, goes straight into the back row in place of the
sidelined Sam Simmonds.
"Nathan Hughes has worked hard on his
fitness. I've never seen him in better physical condition, so we are
looking forward to him playing," said Jones.
Simmonds came off at
half-time with a shoulder injury during England's 12-6 win over Wales
last time out and could now miss the remainder of the Championship.
Billy Vunipola is England's first-choice No 8 but the Saracens star is currently out of action with a broken arm.
Hughes, however, is the nearest equivalent given he too is a powerful
ball-carrier compared to the lighter and more nimble Simmonds.
"Nathan has a key role in defence and in us gaining momentum in attack," Jones said.
Joseph has retained his place at outside centre in the face of
competition from Ben Te'o, who started in England's tournament-opening
46-15 win away to Italy in Rome on February 4.
Jones has also
made one change to his bench, with experienced prop Joe Marler replacing
Alec Hepburn after completing a six-week ban for a dangerous clear-out.
there is no place in the matchday 23 for James Haskell even though the
veteran back-row is also now available after serving a suspension.
England against Scotland is rugby union's oldest international fixture, the border rivals having first met back in 1871.
Two England players will be celebrating personal landmarks at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Hartley, the Red Rose captain and hooker will be winning his 92nd
England cap - surpassing World Cup-winner Jonny Wilkinson's tally of 91
and leaving him second on the all-time national list behind Jason
Leonard's tally of 114.
This weekend's match in Edinburgh will also mark lock Joe Launchbury's 50th England appearance.
any player to play 50 caps for their country is a wonderful
achievement. Joe has worked really hard to improve and is such an
important player for us," Jones said.
England are bidding for an
unprecedented third successive outright Six Nations title and wins in
their opening two matches mean they are still on course for a Grand
But they will be up against a Scotland side who come into this game on the back of a 32-26 win at home to France.
coach Gregor Townsend named an unchanged XV on Wednesday and Jones
said: "We will need to be very tough and relentless in our defence to
keep the pressure on this Scottish team."
The Australian, who has
won 24 of his 25 Tests in charge of England, added: "They are renowned
for their attack so we will need to put pressure on them, create
opportunities through our defence for our attack, and convert those
opportunities to points."
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Pete Horne, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (captain), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Gordon Reid
Substitutes: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 David Denton, 21 Ali Price, 22 Nick Grigg, 23 Blair Kinghorn
15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Mako Vunipola
Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 George Kruis, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Ben Te'o, 23 Jack Nowell