Six Nations 2019: England player profiles

Patrick Madden looks at the England side looking to derail Ireland

Manu Tuilagi will start a Test match for the first time since June 2014 against Ireland. Photograph:  Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Manu Tuilagi will start a Test match for the first time since June 2014 against Ireland. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

 

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps)

Age: 26
Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 94kg (14st 8lbs)
Caps: 25

Not enjoying the best of seasons but Daly remains an incredibly intelligent footballer, and ability off the tee from distance could prove a potent ace.

14 Jonny May (Leicester)

Age: 28
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 92 kg (14st 7lbs)
Caps: 40

England have plenty of competition on the wings, but May’s devastating pace and finishing see him get the nod. Scored eight tries in 11 Tests last year.

13 Henry Slade (Exeter)

Age: 25
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 96kg (15st 2lbs)
Caps: 17

Can provide a good playmaking foil for the bulldozing Tuilagi. Prodigious left boot will be vital for relieving pressure and gaining territory.

12 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester)

Age: 27
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 111kg (17st 6lbs)
Caps: 27

Tuilagi is named in England’s starting XV for the first time since June 2014 and will be champing at the bit . A fearsome match-up with Bundee Aki awaits.

11 Jack Nowell (Exeter)

Age: 25
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 98kg (15st 6lbs)
Caps: 29

Nowell won’t be appearing at openside – as Eddie Jones teased in January – but he does have the attributes to make a successful seven. Dangerous on the ball, and tenacious off it.

10 Owen Farrell (Saracens)

Age: 27
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 92kg (14st 7lbs)
Caps: 65

England’s best player, and being deployed in his best position. Steel, vision, leadership and unerring accuracy, he has the ability to bend a game in his side’s favour.

9 Ben Youngs (Leicester)

Age: 29
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 92kg (14st 7lbs)
Caps: 80

The veteran of this England side, with 80 caps, which is why Dan Robson’s wait for his first cap goes on. Not as sharp as he was, but experience will be vital against Conor Murray.

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Age: 28
Height: 5’ 9”
Weight: 121kg (19st)
Caps: 52

Perhaps the best loosehead in the business, Vunipola gets through a serious amount of grunt work, but he offers sleight of hand and ability round the park.

2 Jamie George (Saracens)

Age: 28
Height: 6”
Weight: 113kg (17st 11lbs)
Caps: 32

Dylan Hartley’s injury paves way for George, a superior player , to start. Very much in the modern mould, the dynamic hooker is excellent in the loose.

Kyle Sinckler has become a key member of England’s pack in recent years. Photograph: Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
Kyle Sinckler has become a key member of England’s pack in recent years. Photograph: Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)

Age: 26
Height: 6’ 0’’
Weight: 113kg (17st 8lbs)
Caps: 17

Sinckler’s ability around the park and his work-rate on both sides of the ball has never been in doubt, but now he must show he has matured through consistency at the set-piece.

4 Maro Itoje (Saracens)

Age: 24
Height: 6’ 4”
Weight: 115kg (18st, 1lb)
Caps: 26

Itoje seemed jaded last year after a mammoth 2017 campaign, but now he is back to his barnstorming best. His skillset is limitless and he is the key cog in the English pack.

5 George Kruis (Saracens)

Age: 28
Height: 6’ 5”
Weight: 113kg (17st, 8lbs)
Caps: 27

Resumes his club partnership with Itoje, as England look to combat the hosts’ lineout threat. A specialist set-piece operator, he is an athletic presence.

6 Mark Wilson (Newcastle)

Age: 29
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 112kg (17st, 9lbs)
Caps: 8

Injury to Brad Shields means Wilson retains his place on the blindside. Arguably England’s player of the autumn, Wilson’s industry could prove vital.

7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)

Age: 20
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 106kg (16st, 10lbs)
Caps: 5

Sam Underhill’s injury means Curry starts the tournament as first-choice openside. A Six Nations debut in Dublin is a baptism of fire but he has the ability to swim rather than sink.

8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Age: 26
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 130kg (20st, 7lbs)
Caps: 36

Big Billy is back. Vunipola offers England a ball-carrying ballast and X-factor upfront which nobody else can match.

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