Six Nations team by team guide: England
Justifiable championship favourites with record in their sights
England’s head coach Eddie Jones has enjoyed a honeymoon period since taking over from Stuart Lancaster. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Dylan Hartley is extremely fortunate to still have the England captaincy. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/Inpho
A beautifully balanced runner, Elliot Daly has a rounded skill-set along with a siege gun boot for long range penalties. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Unbeaten in 2016, they won 14 matches in succession and lie just four games away from equaling New Zealand’s world record for tier one nations and have the prospect of breaking it if they win all the way to Dublin in the last round.
Eddie Jones has built on some of the structures introduced by Stuart Lancaster and introduced his own embellishments. An engaging character for the most part, unafraid to speak his mind, Jones is also happy to try and get under the skin of opposing coaches. He’s quickly identified a gameplan and the players to implement it.
Dylan Hartley is fortunate to still have the armband. There are fewer ‘Chance’ cards in a game of Monopoly. His latest indiscretion involved a swinging arm to the back of Sean O’Brien’s head that saw him add to suspensions that now total over a year. He hadn’t shown that wild streak under Eddie Jones management and that’s probably why he’s still there.
One to Watch Elliot Daly. There are few more naturally gifted backs in the tournament that the 24-year-old Wasps centre, who made his debut in last season’s Six Nations victory over Ireland at Twickenham. His natural position is outside centre but he has also played on the wing for his country. A beautifully balanced runner, he has a rounded skill-set along with a siege gun boot for long-range penalties. His favourite player growing up was Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll and the admiration is reciprocated.
You Bet: 5/6 to win, 9/4 for Grand Slam
Last Year: Grand Slam winners
Prediction: Winners. They face France at home on the opening day and then the following weekend travel to take on Wales. If they win those two games then fixtures against Italy and Scotland will hold little fear for them before they travel to Dublin. Billy Vunipola is a huge loss, His brother Mako, Joe Marler and Chris Robshaw less so. No Grand Slam but a championship win.
Forwards: N Catt (Bath), J Clifford (Harlequins), D Cole (Leicester), C Ewels (Bath), E Genge (Leicester), J George (Saracens), T Harrison (Northampton), D Hartley (Northampton), J Haskell, N Hughes (both Wasps), M Itoje, G Kruis (both Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), M Mullan (Wasps), K Sinckler (Harlequins), T Taylor (Wasps), M Williams (Leicester), T Wood (Northampton).
Backs: M Brown, D Care (both Harlequins), E Daly (Wasps), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford, J Joseph (Bath), A Lozowski (Saracens), J May (Gloucester), J Nowell, H Slade (both Exeter), B Te’o (Worcester), A Watson (Bath), M Yarde (Harlequins), B Youngs (Leicester).