Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 February 2020

Six Nations: Eddie Jones vows 'absolute brutality' when England open campaign against France

Owen Farrell was named at inside centre and will captain the side with 675 caps in the starting XV

England head coach Eddie Jones takes his team to Paris for the Six Nations opener. Getty Images
England head coach Eddie Jones takes his team to Paris for the Six Nations opener. Getty Images

Eddie Jones has promised "absolute brutality" from England as he handed in-form Northampton full-back George Furbank his debut against France in the Six Nations in Paris on Sunday.

Owen Farrell was named at inside centre and will captain the side with 675 caps in the starting XV.

"We have really worried about ourselves, getting ourselves right," Jones said in the French capital on Friday. "We have picked a strong forward pack which is part of the England way and an exciting backline with young George Furbank playing his first Test at fullback."

Manu Tuilagi partners Farrell in midfield, with George Ford and Ben Youngs linking up at half-back.

Long-range goal-kicker Elliot Daly and Jonny May are on the wings, with Anthony Watson a late unavailability due to injury.

Tom Curry, one of the stand-outs of the Rugby World Cup who played openside in all of England's Six Nations matches last season, is selected at No 8.

The 21-year-old will pack down alongside flankers Sam Underhill, chosen at openside, and Courtney Lawes.

Charlie Ewels will partner Maro Itoje in the second row with Jamie George, Joe Marler and Kyle Sinckler making up England's front row.

"It has been a massively exciting week for us," said Jones, who led England to the final of last season's Rugby World Cup in Japan, where they lost to South Africa 32-12 in the final.

"It is the start of the Guinness Six Nations, the best rugby tournament in the world. We have had a great preparation in Portugal with a quality training week this week.

"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."

Prop Will Stuart is included among the replacements and is the second uncapped player in the matchday 23.

Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, George Kruis and Lewis Ludlam complement the forward contingent on the bench, with Willi Heinz, Ollie Devoto and Jonathan Joseph offering backline options.

Kruis is one of five players in the 23 from disgraced English and European champions Saracens.

The club have been mired in a salary cap scandal that caused them to accept demotion the second-tier Championship next season.

France coach Fabien Galthie named his team for Sunday's match at the Stade de France, kick-off 7pm UAE, on Thursday.

Galthie named 12 survivors from France's World Cup quarter-final defeat by Wales in his matchday 23, also handing debuts to tight-head prop Mohamed Haouas and full-back Anthony Bouthier.

Updated: February 1, 2020 03:00 PM

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