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Hughes returns for England's trip to face Scotland at Murrayfield

Eddie Jones has also named Joe Marler on the bench for Saturday’s clash.

NATHAN HUGHES WAS recalled by England coach Eddie Jones today in the only change to the Six Nations champions’ starting side for this weekend’s Calcutta Cup clash away to Scotland [KO 4.45pm, TV3].

Nathan Hughes dejected at the end of the game Nathan Hughes is back starting for England. Source: Andrew Fosker/INPHO

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.

Fiji-born 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.

Jonathan 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 4 February.

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.

Joe Marler England player Joe Marler. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

But 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.

Landmarks

Two England players will be celebrating personal landmarks at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Dylan 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.

Joe Launchbury in the line-out Joe Launchbury in action for England against Wales. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“For 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 Slam.

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.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend named an unchanged XV yesterday 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.”

ENGLAND v Scotland:

15. Mike Brown
14. Anthony Watson
13. Jonathan Joseph
12. Owen Farrell
11. Jonny May
10. George Ford
9. Danny Care

1. Mako Vunipola
2. Dylan Hartley (captain)
3. Dan Cole
4. Joe Launchbury
5. Maro Itoje
6. Courtney Lawes
7. Chris Robshaw
8. Nathan Hughes

Replacements:

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

© AFP 2018

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