England are likely to welcome back Manu Tuilagi for the crunch Six Nations clash with Ireland next week, but Anthony Watson remains out of action.

Centre Tuilagi remained with the England squad after suffering a groin injury in the opening defeat in France, although he did not feature as the Rugby World Cup finalists bounced back against Scotland.

The Leicester Tigers star should be able to feature at Twickenham a week on Sunday, though, head coach Eddie Jones revealed.

England face Ireland, who have won two matches from two so far - beating defending Grand Slam champions Wales last week - to join France at the top of the Six Nations table.

Alongside Tuilagi, England could be boosted by a return for Henry Slade, the 26-year-old having been out with an ankle injury since December.

"Manu is looking very good," Jones told Sky Sports News. "Very promising. He should be in full training by the start of next week.

"Henry Slade ran today and we've yet to get a medical report. It's definitely promising but too early to say whether he will be alright for Ireland or not."

However, Watson - another man, like Slade, yet to feature in the campaign - is still struggling with a calf injury picked up on the eve of the competition.

"Anthony Watson is still a couple of weeks away," Jones said.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) described reports linking Rassie Erasmus with the England job as "100 per cent inaccurate", insisting no approach has been made for the South African to replace head coach Eddie Jones.

Speculation emerged from South Africa that England were lining up Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks coach Erasmus to succeed Jones.

Erasmus, who reverted back to his position as director of rugby after overseeing South Africa's victory over England in Japan last November, attended Saturday's Six Nations clash between Jones' side and Scotland at Murrayfield.

However, the RFU distanced itself from speculation after England boss Jones ended a run of back-to-back defeats.

"The reports are 100 per cent inaccurate. There has been no meeting. There have been no talks whatsoever about any position at the RFU," said RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney.

Jones and England kick-started their Six Nations campaign with a 13-6 win over rivals Scotland in Edinburgh.

England now have blockbuster clashes looming against Ireland and Wales in Europe's annual six-team Test competition, which could be in line for change.

South Africa are reportedly in line to join the Six Nations after the 2023 World Cup, but Jones is against the proposal.

"It's called the greatest rugby tournament in the world and I think it is," Jones said. "So why would you want to add other teams that are going to decrease the level of competition? I can only talk from experience.

"Super Rugby was the golden egg of rugby: 12 teams, brilliant, competitive. As soon as it expanded it lost its allure. You want the best teams playing against each other.

"There's something about the Six Nations – because of the history of the relationships between the nations – that makes it outstanding. There is a lot of meaning to a lot of people for a game like this."

Eddie Jones was left angry with Scotland fans after a member of his coaching team was hit by a beer bottle and Owen Farrell was booed when kicking during England's Six Nations win at Murrayfield.

Neil Craig, England's head of performance, was hit by a bottle thrown from among Scotland supporters as Jones' side entered the stadium ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash on Saturday.

There was also jeering of Farrell when he kicked for goal during England's 13-6 win, which was secured thanks to Ellis Genge's solitary try during dreadful weather conditions brought on by Storm Ciara.

It was Jones' first visit to Murrayfield since a 25-13 defeat two years ago, after which the England coach received vociferous verbal abuse outside a Manchester train station the next day.

"We weren't expecting beer bottles to be thrown – that's a new trick," Jones said. "It's a pretty good achievement, throwing beer bottles. You've got to be brave to throw a beer bottle.

"Neil has a hard head, I know that, and there's not much inside it. He will be all right."

When asked if England would consider making a formal complaint, Jones said: "It's not going to do anything, is it? Everybody knows about it, so someone can do something about it. It's not good behaviour, is it?"

Jones went on to accuse the Scottish fans of lacking respect over their heckling of Farrell, who kicked eight points despite missing three penalties in the swirling wind.

"Rugby did have a culture of respect and if there is a new level of respect in Scotland then we have to put up with it. Obviously, they think there is," said Jones.

"If that's how the Scottish fans will be respectful then we have to acknowledge it and get on with it. It was an old-fashioned Calcutta Cup game with swirling wind and an aggressive crowd without manners – I thought you were supposed to show kickers respect?"

The result was just what Rugby World Cup finalists England needed following their opening-game loss to France. 

Ellis Genge took a swipe at the "sausages" who criticised England following a Six Nations defeat to France after they beat Scotland to regain the Calcutta Cup on a bleak Saturday at Murrayfield.

The Rugby World Cup runners-up made a poor start to the tournament last weekend, paying the price for an error-strewn performance by losing 24-17 in Paris.

England rolled up their sleeves to respond with a 13-6 victory in a Storm Ciara-battered Edinburgh, Genge scoring the only try 10 minutes from time.

Jones' side showed they were up for the fight in driving rain and strong winds and the replacement prop let his feelings be known after they lifted the Calcutta Cup for the first time in three years.

Asked about the emotion of scoring the winning try, he told BBC Sport: "I don't know; I can't remember. It was 20 minutes ago, and it was all a bit of a blur, it happens quite quick.

"We played well and luckily I was the one that picked it up. Quite a few of the boys are getting drug tested so it's quite quiet in the changing room.

"We are buzzing to win but there is more to come. We had a bump in the road last week and people were saying we were not good enough.

"It's classic – you have a lot of sausages that say things that come to their head. What are they on about? We go away and win in Scotland in the rain and they are full of praise again. I hope we have shut them up."

Jones is hopeful his side can kick on with a showdown against Ireland to come at Twickenham following a weekend off.

"Apart from 15 minutes, we dominated the game. We had a few poor kicks, but we dominated possession and we finished it off, which we didn't do last week," said the England head coach.

"It was an old-fashioned Calcutta Cup game, swirling wind and an aggressive crowd without manners.

"There is a lot of growth for us. I under-prepared the side for the first game but we'll get stronger as the weeks go on."

Stuart Hogg says Scotland are too consumed with plans to turn over England at Murrayfield on Saturday to engage in a war of words.

England head coach Eddie Jones yet again started the mind games by referring to Gregor Townsend's side as "niggly" and a team that look to "goad" opponents.

Back-row forward Lewis Ludlam also vowed that the Rugby World Cup runners-up will be prepared to go to "war" against the Auld Enemy in the second round of the Six Nations.

Yet captain Hogg says Scotland are only interested in giving themselves every chance of retaining the Calcutta Cup, which they have held since 2018.

The British and Irish Lions full-back said: "Look, my job is to make sure I'm concentrating on getting my performance spot-on but also making sure the team is switched on.

"We're here for the right reasons, not listening to what others have got to say.

"We're concentrating on what happens within the four walls of our changing room and making sure we are focused and ready."

Scotland and England were beaten by Ireland and France respectively on the opening weekend, and Hogg is confident Townsend's men can respond with a victory.

"I think I've made it pretty clear I've got a lot of respect for England," the Exeter Chiefs man added.

"I've been fortunate enough to play for a few of their boys on Lions tours and they're world class.

"But we want an opportunity to turn them over. I fully believe in our team, that we can do that and we'll do everything in our power."

Magnus Bradbury returns from injury in Scotland's solitary change for their Edinburgh Six Nations showdown with England.

Edinburgh number eight Bradbury replaces club-mate Nick Haining, who impressed in the narrow 19-12 loss to Ireland last weekend, after overcoming a thigh strain.

Haining drops to the replacements for the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield, while Cornell du Preez misses out on the matchday squad.

Scotland were victorious the last time they faced England on home soil two years ago and retained the trophy in a barnstorming 38-38 draw at Twickenham 12 months ago.

Finn Russell is once again omitted having been overlooked for the Ireland game due to a "breach of team protocol".

Head coach Gregor Townsend was encouraged by his side's performance against Ireland but warned of a response from an England side smarting from an opening defeat to France.

"We were proud of parts of our performance in Dublin at a very difficult venue," Townsend told Scotland Rugby's official website.

"The challenge for the squad is to replicate that level and take our chances when they come, in order to win tight games.

"England are an excellent team whose run to the Rugby World Cup final was no fluke.

"They will be smarting from their opener in Paris and Eddie [Jones] will have them primed to come to Edinburgh and put in an improved performance."

Scotland team to face England:

Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury

 

Replacements:

Stuart McInally, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Nick Haining, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Chris Harris

 

Willi Heinz is set to start in place of Ben Youngs in one of five England changes for Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland.

Eddie Jones has opted to make several alterations after the Rugby World Cup runners-up were beaten 24-17 by France in their Six Nations opener last week.

Heinz comes in at scrum-half for just his fourth international start with Youngs dropping to the bench, while Jonathan Joseph will start at outside centre in place of the injured Manu Tuilagi at Murrayfield.

Mako Vunipola and George Kruis return at prop and lock respectively, and Lewis Ludlam is in at flanker in place of Courtney Lawes.

Joe Marler is omitted from the squad altogether, with Ellis Genge among the replacements.

Saracens back-rower Ben Earl is in line to make his England debut after being named among the substitutes.

 

England team to face Scotland:

George Furbank; Jonny May, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly; George Ford, Willi Heinz; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, George Kruis; Lewis Ludlam, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry.

Replacements:

Tom Dunn, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs, Ollie Devoto.

Courtney Lawes believes Saturday's clash with Scotland at Murrayfield offers the England team the perfect platform to prove their maturity.

England slumped to a 24-17 defeat to France in their opening Six Nations encounter in Paris on Sunday, with Eddie Jones' side failing to score a point in the opening half.

Jonny May scored two tries for the visitors to set up the chance of a grandstand finish, but Les Bleus ultimately held firm.

Scotland, meanwhile, were defeated by Ireland in their opener, and Lawes – who is the second-most capped player in Jones' squad – is relishing the trip to Edinburgh, with the Calcutta Cup at stake.

"It's the perfect place to go for us, because there is going to be some adversity without a shadow of a doubt," he told BBC Radio 5Live.

"It will be great for the maturity of our squad, and the players in it and the leadership group to show what we can learn from the weekend to take into this game.

"They don't really like us there but it's something we kind of like to embrace and get out there and play some fiery rugby."

Lawes also insisted it is on England's leaders to take responsibility on the pitch, as they aim to work out a way to prosper when not necessarily on top in a game.

"We have a leadership group in place and they are responsible for making decisions on the field. You don't want too many people talking, especially when you are under pressure," he said.

"Owen [Farrell] has got his role as skipper, and then we as lieutenants – or whatever you want to call it – have our role trying to figure out how he can do his role best.

"We know we are good when we get the game plan right and we are executing. But now we need to work on when things aren't going to plan, where we go to next.

"We need to be better at identifying where we are struggling and adapting to that situation to get momentum back where you are struggling to get anything from the referee, or a bounce of a ball, how can you gain back that control.

"We have some serious experience. [Head coach] Eddie [Jones] has given us the opportunity to be a part of that, and it is something we need to step up and do."

Eddie Jones is convinced Tom Curry can be England's long-term solution at number eight after once again overlooking a specialist in the position for the Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland.

England began their Six Nations campaign with an error-strewn 24-17 loss to France in Paris, but head coach Jones opted to name the same squad for Saturday's trip to Murrayfield.

In-form Harlequins star Alex Dombrandt and Fiji-born Nathan Hughes once again miss out on an opportunity to stake a claim in the absence of powerhouse Billy Vunipola, who will sit out the entire tournament with a broken arm.

Curry was moved from flanker to play number eight and struggled to stamp his authority against Les Bleus, but Jones is set to persevere and backed the Sale Sharks back-rower to adjust quickly.

"I see him as a long-term number eight, so I am prepared to accept some mistakes for him to learn and become a better number eight," Jones said. 

"We don't have a one-game selection policy. Just look at players like [Ellis] Genge and how long it has taken him to be a Test player – four years. They have to go through this apprenticeship and sometimes they go through some pain at the start of it.

"I think he [Curry] can be a Rodney So'oialo type player: a mobile, hard-running number eight that has ball skills. We can't find another Billy so we won't go down that track – we will find a different sort of player.

"We want this team to be a great team. To do this we need to have the ambition to make players great players. Tom is one of those players we feel can be an absolutely outstanding number eight. But it will take time."

Jones, though, did admit he wants an injection of power from England – an area where Vunipola excels, especially at the opposition try line.

"That sort of attack has become a power game and we weren't good in that area," Jones added.

"In the World Cup final, we weren't good in that area and we weren't good there against France. It's an area we need to improve in.

"We need to find a way to get some more power because you've got to carry through bodies. We've got to find a way to have more variety."

Eddie Jones has overlooked Alex Dombrandt once again for England's Six Nations showdown with Scotland – but injured centre Manu Tuilagi is included in a 35-man squad.

In-form number eight Dombrandt did not make the matchday squad for the defeat to France in Paris on Sunday despite Billy Vunipola being ruled out with a broken arm.

Tom Curry was instead shifted to the back of the pack for the game at the Stade de France, with France running out 24-17 winners.

Dombrandt, who plays his club rugby for Harlequins, has not been included for the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield.

Tuilagi is on the list of players, however, even though he suffered a groin injury in Paris, leading to him being substituted in the first half.

The uncapped Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Alex Moon, Fraser Dingwall, Ollie Thorley and Jacob Umaga were also selected by Jones.

 

England squad

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Alex Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams.

Backs: Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Jacob Umaga, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

Eddie Jones expected to see a brutal display when England travelled to France in the opening round of the 2020 Six Nations – and that is exactly what he got.

The problem for Jones, though, is that his pre-match quote with regards England testing their opponents' readiness for Test rugby came back to bite him. Badly.

Les Bleus were certainly up to the task. Starting a new era under the stewardship of Fabien Galthie and with defensive expert Shaun Edwards part of the coaching staff, they produced a performance that, after a long period rather stuck in the international doldrums, raises the hope they can rise again. England, in contrast, were as flat as a crepe.

"France can expect absolute brutality from England, we are going to go out there to make sure they understand what Test rugby is. It is about being brutal, it is about being physical and it is about dominating the set piece," Jones had said in his pre-match media conference.

Yet after stoking the flames ahead of a clash that rarely needs help to catch fire, his players failed to even do the basics expected of your local junior team.

Their first-half display quickly brought back memories of November's Rugby World Cup final against South Africa, when they suffered a chastening 32-12 defeat that saw an otherwise excellent campaign end in disappointing fashion.

Disappointing would be a generous description for an error-strewn opening 40 minutes at the Stade de France.

England treated the ball as if if harboured a contagious disease. Debutant George Furbank was diagnosed early with a case of the 'dropsies', which was perhaps understandable to a degree. However, the problem even spread as far as the usually reliable Owen Farrell, who failed to hang on to a simple pass in midfield, much to the delight of a raucous French crowd revelling in what they were witnessing.

There was even a penalty given away for failing to mind the gap at a lineout; that is how far things went underground for England.

Still, while the visitors showed all the coordination of a baby giraffe on ice, France produced some slick rugby in slippery conditions to assume total control. They led 17-0 at half-time, while Edwards' fingerprints were all over an aggressive defensive display that stifled England.

Jones may well have been brutal with his half-time assessment of his team's performance in the changing room, though England did not really start to show any fight until the immediate aftermath of Charles Ollivon's second try of the game, as a late challenge on the scorer caused a confrontation with just under an hour gone.

Jonny May – one of the few bright lights for the visitors in a dismal outing – crossed twice to reduce the gap, both fine finishes by the wing that demonstrated what England can deliver when they can build from firm foundations.

In the end, though, time scuppered any hopes of a dramatic comeback. France – who had surrendered a 16-point lead to lose on opening weekend a year ago to Wales – stood firm under late pressure near their own line, forcing Farrell to slot over a penalty with the final kick of the contest just to claim a losing bonus point.

After a stirring rendition prior to kick-off, the home support voiced their approval by singing La Marseillaise one more time in the closing stages of a superb 24-17 triumph.

England must now face the realisation that their Grand Slam prospects for this year are over after 80 minutes. Jones fanned the flames with his words in the media, but this rebooted France team let their rugby do the talking.

The Algarve: Sun, sea, sand and, if you are the England rugby squad, a chance to discuss salary caps. 

Eddie Jones - a man not known for sugar-coating his words - made clear that England's pre-Six Nations training camp in Portugal offered not just preparation time but also an opportunity to clear the air in the wake of the Saracens scandal.  

Joe Marler described the situation as the "elephant in the room", while Jones himself said the players needed to "get it out on the table" so they could all move on. The hope is voicing any grievances with what happened at the Premiership club will not allow any resentment to fester and, potentially, cause a splintering in the ranks. 

While their futures at club level remain uncertain, some of Sarries' stars will once again provide the backbone for England's push for glory in this year's championship. The one notable absentee is Billy Vunipola, once again sidelined due to a broken arm. Yet even without the number eight, hopes are rightly high for success.

They will no doubt have memories of their last outing, a painful Rugby World Cup final that did not go to plan. Having ended New Zealand's longstanding grip on the Webb Ellis Cup with a stunning semi-final win, England failed to hit the same heights in the showpiece game. In truth, they didn't even come close. 

That 32-12 loss to the Springboks in Yokohama must have hurt back in November, but - now the dust has settled and the debrief is all done - it can provide a catalyst to raise the bar, rather than the beginning of the end for the current crop.

Asked in a media conference if there was a concern over a World Cup hangover still lingering, young flanker Tom Curry offered a response that was both swift and to the point: "No".

Jones will not tolerate any self-pity either. Instead, the Australian will expect a reaction, starting with their trip to Paris on opening weekend. 

For Les Bleus, this feels like the first chapter in a new story. Head coach Fabien Galthie selected 19 uncapped players in his initial squad, suggesting he is free to shape the script going forward. 

England, however, do not have the thought of the 2023 World Cup at the forefront of their minds. Jones may not even still be in charge by then – his current deal runs until August 2021 – so his only focus is on winning now. 

Trusted lieutenants will once again will be relied upon to lead in the heat of battle, including Saracens duo Owen Farrell, who captains the team against France, and Maro Itoje. 

With Ireland and Wales – Grand Slam winners in 2018 and 2019 respectively – beginning new regimes following the departures of longstanding coaches, the familiar faces lining up in white shirts are considered favourites to reign this year. 

After so much talk around off-field issues and World Cup hangovers, the players may just be grateful just to get on with playing games.

Vunipola's absence is an obvious blow, considering his ball-carrying abilities, but there is more than enough power in the pack to cope without him. The time for talking is over; England know there are no excuses for failing to deliver a first title since 2017.

England captain Owen Farrell has declared "nothing is set in stone" when it comes to his Saracens future.

After last week's dramatic announcement from Premiership Rugby that Saracens will be demoted to the Championship next season, the focus has switched to what that will mean for the club's elite players.

Years of breaching the Premiership salary cap has come back to bite Saracens, the current champions of England and Europe.

Farrell was one of seven Saracens players named in a 34-man England squad on Monday and there will be clear-the-air discussions during the team's training camp.

Rival clubs have been angered by Saracens' over-spending and England will move quickly to defuse any tensions that may exist within coach Eddie Jones' group.

Asked whether he would stay with Saracens beyond this season, Farrell said: "There's obviously ongoing chats. We have an idea of what our plan would be for the lads that are coming into camp.

"We've had a sit-down, but obviously nothing is set in stone so [I am] not in a position to talk about it, but we feel clear enough at this moment in time to get on with what's in front of us and get excited about getting to England."

Farrell was asked for his view on the punishment meted out to his club side, and told ITV Sport: "It's disappointing obviously, but as a club we've accepted the punishment and I back the club to come back from this."

England's squad were set to gather on Wednesday and Farrell, as the team's leader, will likely have a key role in making sure there are no disruptive divisions between the players given the need for unity.

Asked whether there might be issues between the Saracens contingent and players from other clubs, Farrell said: "I don't know. The best thing about this squad over the past year or so [is] we've got better at being up-front with each other.

"We've got better at being open and better at being honest, and if that's the case we'll get it out there and we'll sort it out and be able to move on.

"It'd be wrong of us not to say anything so we'll see what comes of it when we do mention it."

Farrell left no doubt he is relishing the chance to focus on England matters over the coming weeks.

After the run to the Rugby World Cup final, England will bid to dethrone Wales as Six Nations champions.

"It's massively exciting," Farrell said.

"The group that we've got is obviously a lot of people that've been together for a while now, but with some people that are hopefully going to add a lot to it.

"We want to push, we want to get better, we want to improve, and we want to see where we can take it.

"We've got to work hard and that'll be what we do now when we meet up."

Saracens' troubles will not make facing England in the Six Nations any easier, according to France captain Charles Ollivon.

France kick-start their Six Nations campaign against the Rugby World Cup finalists on February 2 at the Stade de France.

Six players who appeared in England's defeat to South Africa in Japan play for Premiership champions Saracens, who will be relegated at the end of the season due to a breach of salary cap rules.

Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola – who will miss the Six Nations due to a broken arm – and captain Owen Farrell are all regulars under Eddie Jones, yet Ollivon is not expecting any uncertainty over their club futures to impact their performances for England.

"You have to remember that England is the second-best team in the world, so I'm not sure whether it is the best time to play against them or not," Ollivon, who has been appointed as France captain for the tournament, told reporters.

"In any case, for us it will be our first game and we want to be able to perform. We want to be there and meet the expectations and get started with the championship.

"We have been preparing for it since the end of the World Cup so we're eager to get on with it."

France's initial 42-man squad includes 19 uncapped players, with coach Fabien Galthie already casting an eye to the 2023 World Cup, which will take place on home soil.

"It's a young team both in terms of age and caps," Galthie said.

"We have a two-fold vision, we have a four-year vision and then we have a shorter-term vision with the England squad for February 2.

"It's a squad that we'll have to quickly gear up to be able to perform and also to be able to raise the bar and the standards."

Eddie Jones will encourage his players to voice their grievances over the Saracens salary-cap scandal when the England squad assembles before the Six Nations.

Rugby World Cup finalists England are due to begin a seven-day training camp in Portugal on Thursday ahead of their clash with France on February 2.

Jones confirmed he would hold clear-the-air talks in a bid to root out any tension stemming from the Sarries' salary-cap breaches, which resulted in a £5.36million fine and relegation from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje were among seven Sarries stars named in a 34-man England squad on Monday.

"We have got to get everything out on the table," Jones told reporters. "It's common sense. Say what you feel.

"If players are angry about it then say it. At the end of the day, there are 34 players that all want to play for England. Their job is to get ready to play for England.

"We will help them sort it out. I don't envisage any problems at all, in fact I think it is an opportunity for the team to get tighter. They wouldn't be in the squad if they weren't in the right mindset."

Jones admitted the meeting might not reach an easy resolution as England seek to move forward in the aftermath of their World Cup heartbreak against South Africa.

"We are not robots," he said. "You don't know how long it is going to take. It could take longer, but we will sort it out.

"We have got players from potentially 12 different clubs - 12 different ideas of what is right and what is wrong.

"We are like a family around the dinner table, someone wants to have pasta for dinner and the other one wants to have rice. They have a debate and that is ongoing in the national team."

Page 1 of 6
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.