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England ready for Six Nations opener against

Thursday, February 02, 2017 - 01:24

Eddie Jones says England are looking forward to kicking off their Six Nations campaign against France.

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SENDING WITH FULL SCRIPT SHOWS: BAGSHOT, ENGLAND, UK (FEBRUARY 2, 2017) (REUTERS ACCESS ALL) 1. ENGLAND HEAD COACH EDDIE JONES WALKING ON TRAINING PITCH 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLAND HEAD COACH EDDIE JONES, SAYING: "It is a very exciting time for the team. I have selected a very strong team. We have had great preparation. We are really looking forward to the Six Nations, the tournament in shaping up well. We have got a lot of teams in form, a lot of teams moving in the right direction and our first assignment is France at home. France have been on the improve steadily under Guy Noves. They have really got their passion back for the game. What we can't afford to do on Saturday is allow them to play with that French flair. We have got to be very disciplined, very rigourous in the way we play early in the game, set the platform for the game. We have got a very strong bench to finish it off for us so we have prepared well and we are looking forward to it guys." 3. ENGLAND TEAM TRAINING 4. ENGLAND PLAYERS IN HUDDLE STORY: Elliot Daly will start on the wing and Maro Itoje will play at blindside flanker as England begin the defence of their Six Nations title against France at Twickenham on Saturday (February 4), coach Eddie Jones said when naming his side on Thursday (February 2). Itoje, who missed the autumn internationals with a broken hand, makes a positional change to slot in for the injured Chris Robshaw, leaving Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes to fill the lock positions. Daly was picked on the left wing ahead of Jack Nowell, who is on the bench, with Jonny May on the right. Itoje has played in the back row for his club Saracens and filled in there for England but this is his first international start in the position vacated by Robshaw, who underwent shoulder surgery earlier this month. Having overcome a poor first half to beat France in Paris to secure the grand slam last season, Jones is demanding a step up on home soil. "We are really looking forward to the Six Nations, the tournament in shaping up well. We have got a lot of teams in form, a lot of teams moving in the right direction and our first assignment is France at home. France have been on the improve steadily under Guy Noves. They have really got their passion back for the game. What we can't afford to do on Saturday is allow them to play with that French flair," warned Jones. "We have got to be very disciplined, very rigourous in the way we play early in the game, set the platform for the game. We have got a very strong bench to finish it off for us so we have prepared well and we are looking forward to it guys." England have won their last 14 matches, a national record shared with Clive Woodward's team from 2002-03. If they repeat their grand slam of last season it would take their run to 19, beating the record of 18 set by New Zealand from 2015-16. England team: 15-Mike Brown, 14-Jonny May, 13-Jonathan Joseph, 12-Owen Farrell, 11-Elliot Daly, 10-George Ford, 9-Ben Youngs; 8-Nathan Hughes, 7-Tom Wood, 6-Maro Itoje, 5-Courtney Lawes, 4-Joe Launchbury, 3-Dan Cole, 2-Dylan Hartley (captain), 1-Joe Marler. Replacements: 16-Jamie George, 17-Matt Mullan, 18-Kyle Sinckler 19-Teimana Harrison, 20-James Haskell, 21-Danny Care, 22-Ben Te'o, 23-Jack Nowell.

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England ready for Six Nations opener against

Thursday, February 02, 2017 - 01:24