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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

Six Nations 2019: England's 'Jonah Lomu' dropped for match against Scotland

Joe Cokanasiga not even named among replacements despite man-of-the-match performance in win against Italy

England wing Joe Cokanasiga has been dropped from the squad by coach Eddie Jones for the final Six Nations match against Scotland. AFP
England wing Joe Cokanasiga has been dropped from the squad by coach Eddie Jones for the final Six Nations match against Scotland. AFP

England have delivered a seismic shock by dropping Joe Cokanasiga for Saturday's Six Nations clash with Scotland.

Cokanasiga was named man of the match after Italy were swept aside in the penultimate round of the Championship and was compared to Jonah Lomu by Clive Woodward, but the Fijian-born wing is not even on the bench for the Calcutta Cup showdown.

Taking his place in the No 14 jersey is Jack Nowell, who has recovered from a shoulder stinger injury, with Ben Te'o picked as replacement three-quarter cover.

Eddie Jones has reverted to his first choice midfield for the 2019 Six Nations with Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade paired in the centres outside Owen Farrell.

In total there are four changes in personnel to the XV that battered Italy 57-14 at Twickenham with Ben Moon restored at loosehead prop and Mark Wilson displacing Brad Shields at blindside flanker.

Ben Youngs will be making his 85th England appearance to surpass the national record for a scrum-half held by Danny Care.

"It is a fantastic achievement for Ben, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work and something he and his family will be really proud of," Jones said.

England will win the Six Nations title if they regain the Calcutta Cup and Wales fail in their Grand Slam bid against Ireland in Cardiff.

"It's the last week of the tournament so it's exciting. It will be a fascinating finish with three teams that can win it and we are playing against one of our most traditional foes in Scotland," Jones said.

"Scotland are a difficult side - they are always at you, they play with a lot of enthusiasm and effort and have got a lot of attacking strings to their bow.

"Finn Russell is an exceptional player at 10 and they have got some pace on the outside so we are going to have to defend really well against them."

Scotland beat England 25-13 at Murrayfield to win the Calcutta Cup last season but they have only defeated Italy so far in this Six Nations and have not won at Twickenham since 1983.

Liam Williams has recovered from injury and will start for Wales in Saturday's Six Nations Grand Slam clash against Ireland.

Full-back Williams went off during the 18-11 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend after suffering a "stinger" to his shoulder area.

But the Saracens star has been named in an unchanged team by Warren Gatland as unbeaten Wales chase a first Six Nations title since 2013 and first Grand Slam for seven years.

There are three survivors in Gatland's starting line-up from the Grand Slam clincher against France in 2012 - captain Alun Wyn Joes, wing George North and centre Jonathan Davies.

But it will be a new experience for a number of other key performers - players like wing Josh Adams, who has scored three tries in his last three Six Nations games, fly-half Gareth Anscombe, flanker Josh Navidi and No 8 Ross Moriarty.

Gatland, meanwhile, will oversee his 50th Six Nations match and skipper Jones equals prop Gethin Jenkins' appearance record for Wales and the British & Irish Lions of 134 Tests.

Ireland will win the Six Nations if they defeat Wales in Cardiff and Scotland beat England at Twickenham. They were also the last side to topple Gatland's men 13 months ago.

Since then, Wales have embarked on a national record 13 successive Test wins, and Gatland is bidding to become the first coach in Five or Six Nations history to mastermind three Grand Slam triumphs.

During his reign, Wales achieved clean sweeps in 2008 and 2012, and it is the New Zealander's final Six Nations match before he leaves his post after the World Cup in Japan later this year.

Gatland has also retained the replacements' bench personnel selected for Edinburgh, with a fit-again Leigh Halfpenny missing out on a first Test match involvement since he suffered concussion when Wales beat Australia in November.

"We've named an unchanged squad and rewarded the players for the last couple of outings and the last couple of victories," Gatland said.

Gatland added: "These players are on a very good run, they are a hugely impressive group and they deserve to be going into the final weekend with everything to play for.

"It is a great reward for them for the hard work they have put in, and we are all looking forward to what is going to be a huge game.

"For a number of us as coaches this is our last Six Nations game, and the fact that it is in Cardiff is extra special. There is bound to be a bit of emotion on Saturday, and that is something to embrace."

Updated: March 14, 2019 04:19 PM

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