Experienced England fired up for Scots

2016-02-04 20:15
Eddie Jones (AP)

Bagshot - Eddie Jones is adamant his "pumped up" England side can ride the Scottish storm on and off the field as they bid to retain the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield on Saturday.

England's new head coach has plumped for experience and older heads to try and make his first match in charge since taking over from Stuart Lancaster a successful one.

He has named a starting XV boasting 512 caps for the Six Nations opener, and has also kept faith with deposed captain Chris Robshaw who moves from blindside to openside with James Haskell taking over the No7 jersey.

Danny Care gets the nod ahead of Ben Youngs at scrumhalf while Owen Farrell switches to inside centre leaving George Ford to maintain the flyhalf role.

Eight of Jones' starting team played in the crucial World Cup loss to Australia.

And the former Japan coach insists he has "picked a team to get the job done against Scotland", and that means uncapped trio prop Paul Hill, flanker Jack Clifford and centre Ollie Devoto sitting on the bench and having to wait their chance.

Australian Jones, well aware that he needs instant results to try and erase the unhappy memory of England's major World Cup failure, claimed: "I've picked the best team for the job.

"I believe they are the best 23. They believe they are the best 23...and now we have to go up there and prove it. They will be pumped up and ready from the start.

"It's a Calcutta Cup match and we know what to expect from Scotland. The forecast is for rain and strong winds off the field and Scotland will try and come at us like a storm from the start. So the team will need to be ready. I believe they will be.

"I can sense the togetherness in the team but we have not been exposed to a Test match yet.

"Experience will be crucial in winning games like this one. If you look at the past Six Nations champions they all have 500-600 caps. So I took that into account when naming my 23.

"It's not about giving people opportunities. It's about winning Tests. The new guys will be picked when they are ready to play Test rugby. The likes of Maro Itoje, Elliot Daly and others will get their chance."

Jones is certainly keen to end England's long barren spell without a Six Nations title - they last won it in 2011.

He said: "It would be nice to end that run but we are not looking too far ahead. There's no pressure. Pressure is just for the team to play well. We have prepared well and if we're good enough we will win it. If not we wont.

"The Six Nations is the greatest in the world because every game means so much. It means so much to the fans and different nations.

"If you don't get nervous you are not human. Every time you go to bed at night you check your phone hoping that something hasn't happened. You do the same in the morning. I don't sit there biting my nails or thinking what should we do. But it is a good nervousness."

Jones has made three of his players -- Farrell, Mike Brown and Billy Vunipola -- vice captains, but did not say who would take over the leadership if or when new skipper Dylan Hartley leaves the field.

Hartley is relishing his first opportunity of leading the team into Six Nations battle and the Northampton hooker insisted: "We are not thinking too far ahead. It's important to start the game well. We've worked hard and we will be prepared and ready for the challenge.

"The mindset is that we need to deliver. It's where we start our game. It's another huge test, big game and exciting to be back in an England shirt.

"There has been the hangover of the World Cup but we now have the chance to put things right on the field and get back to winning ways - let's get pumped up for the weekend and not look too far ahead."

Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  eddie jones  |  rugby


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