England Coach Eddie Jones has selected his starting XV to defend their Six Nations crown against Italy in Rome. No nation has successfully retained the title for three years in a row, Eddie Jones will hope that despite a substantial injury list his side will complete this historic feat.
With a Grand Slam in his first year as England Coach and narrowly missing out on the Grand Slam last year Jones will hope the strength in depth of his English side will be enough to retain the title for an historic third year.
The Grand Slam may be a tough ask with the number of injuries England have, with the likes of Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes and Elliot Daly to name a few. They will also be without suspended Joe Marler and James Haskell for the beginning of the tournament.
In what looks set to be the most tightly contested tournament in recent times, England will know that every point counts and with try bonus points counting for the second year in the tournament their opening game against the Azzurri in Rome will be crucial.
With the other Nations having successful Autumn campaigns, England will be under no illusions this tournament will be extremely tough. Last year England went into the final game against Ireland already with the Six Nations crown, knowing that a win would secure the Grand Slam- Ireland however ran out winners that evening- this is still Jones’s only loss as England Coach.
Eddie Jones has built a strong philosophy of winning with this batch of England players, they may not always deliver on performance but always on outcome, their adaptability and experience as a team will be tough to overcome for the other Nations however with injuries continuing to be a concern this may be a weakness to exploit for the other sides.