Wilson recalled, Ford benched for England Six Nations opener

Jones promised that England will be “raring to go” for as they look to defend the title they won narrowly in October against Italy, before winning the Autumn Nations Cup in extra time against France on December 6.

Jones has opted to return captain Owen Farrell to his favoured fly-half position, with Ollie Lawrence – who made his debut in the autumn – at inside centre and Henry Slade at No13. Ben Youngs starts at scrum-half, and Jones has opted for consistency in the back three, with Elliot Daly between Anthony Watson and Jonny May.

Up front, Ellis Genge and Will Stuart get rare starts at prop, while Jonny Hill is preferred to Courtney Lawes as Maro Itoje’s partner at lock. 

Mark Wilson, who has suffered with injury over the last year, slots in on the blindside, with Tom Curry crossing to open side and Billy Vunipola at No8. 

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On the bench, loosehead prop Beno Obano is in line to make his debut having been around the setup for some years, while Courtney Lawes is back from injury. Ben Earl’s wait for a first start goes on. Harry Williams is back in a matchday 23 for the first time since before the 2019 World Cup. 

Ford, one of England’s key leaders, will be asked to close the game out as one of Jones’s “finishers”, alongside Dan Robson and Max Malins. This means that young stars Paolo Odogwu and Harry Randall must wait a little longer to debut. 

“The Six Nations is a short tournament, it’s a real sprint so we’ll need to be on the front foot straight away,” said Jones. “We know Scotland will be raring to go – but so will we.

England are missing a host of players. Manu Tuilagi remains out with a torn achilles, while in the pack Sam Underhill has a hip injury, Joe Launchbury has a stress fracture of the leg and Mako Vunipola is still recovering from an achilles issue. Kyle Sinckler is banned (but has been training with the squad), and Joe Marler is sitting the tournament out for family reasons. 

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England’s five-strong Saracens contingent have not played since the end of the Autumn Nations Cup, meaning they have had two months’ rest. The rest also come in without much rugby after the suspension of European comp

England’s last two meetings with Scotland have been remarkable affairs. At Twickenham in 2019, England raced into a 31-0 lead, then needed a Ford equaliser, when the clock was red, to salvage a 38-38 draw after Scotland fought back. Last year, they won a filthy game 13-6 to regain the Calcutta Cup, as Storm Ciara battered Edinburgh. 

This is the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between the teams – the first ever rugby international – and before the game England will Scotland give a commemorative shield to mark the occasion. England will also be wearing a one-off “heritage kit” as it is the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Rugby Football Union. With no fans in the stand, there will be “a special 150th banner along the stadium’s east lower tier”, as well as a commemorative design on the Twickenham pitch. 

Scotland were due to name their 23 for the match later in the day. 

15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 47 caps) 14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 46 caps) 13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 34 caps) 12. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 3 caps) 11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 61 caps) 10. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 88 caps) 9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 104 caps) 1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 23 caps) 2. Jamie George (Saracens, 54 caps) 3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 8 caps) 4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 43 caps) 5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 4 caps) 6. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 19 caps) 7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 28 caps) 8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 56 caps)

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 26 caps) 17. Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, uncapped) 18. Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps) 19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 85 caps) 20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 8 caps) 21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 7 caps) 22. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 72 caps) 23. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)

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