England open 2023 Six Nations campaign by hosting Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday, February 4 (4.45pm kick-off). Steve Borthwick omits powerful centre Manu Tuilagi from his matchday squad of 23; Joe Marchant and Owen Farrell start at centre; Wing Ollie Hassell-Collins to make debut
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 02/02/23 2:42pm
Manu Tuilagi has been dropped from England’s squad to face Scotland in their opening Six Nations clash, in Steve Borthwick’s maiden Test announcement.
With Tuilagi absent from the 23, Harlequins’ Joe Marchant starts at outside-centre for his first Test appearance since England’s opening defeat to Australia during their three-Test series in July, while Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell begin at fly-half and inside-centre respectively.
Bath centre Ollie Lawrence and Leicester wing Anthony Watson are chosen as the backs replacements ahead of Tuilagi.
Elsewhere, London Irish wing Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his Test debut as he is picked to form a back-three with full-back Freddie Steward and right wing Max Malins.
Completing the back-line, scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet starts ahead of Leicester team-mate Ben Youngs, with the latter named on the bench.
Into the forwards, the absence of Tom Curry through injury sees the Sale man’s twin brother Ben picked for just his second ever cap at openside flanker, with Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt completing the back-row.
Tigers second row Ollie Chessum has beaten off competition from Dave Ribbans and Jonny Hill – released back to Sale earlier in the week – to start alongside Maro Itoje in the second row.
Ellis Genge, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler combine in the front-row, with returning pair Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole held in reserve.
The bench also sees uncapped hooker Jack Walker named, while Saracens duo Nick Isiekwe and Ben Earl complete the squad as lock and back-row cover.
“There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld Enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup,” Borthwick said on Thursday.
“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world.
“There is no doubt that this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.
“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.”
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Max Malins, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jack van Poortvliet; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Ollie Chessum, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 7 Ben Curry, 8 Alex Dombrandt
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Anthony Watson.
Source : Sky Sports