England bench Youngs as Jones rings changes for Scotland Six Nations clash

3 min

Bagshot (United Kingdom) (AFP)

England coach Eddie Jones has dropped experienced scrum-half Ben Youngs to the bench in one of five changes as he carried out major surgery to his side for this weekend's Six Nations clash against Scotland.

The 96-times capped Youngs had a torrid match during England's opening 24-17 defeat by France in Paris and has been replaced in the starting line-up for Saturday's match at Murrayfield by Willi Heinz.

Gloucester half-back Heinz missed England's World Cup final defeat by South Africa -- their previous match before last week's Six Nations opener -- through injury, with Youngs also struggling against the Springboks.

Prop Joe Marler is out of the matchday 23 completely, his place in the starting XV taken by Mako Vunipola, with Ellis Genge among the replacements.

Lewis Ludlam comes into the back-row in place of Courtney Lawes while Tom Curry keeps his place at number eight in the ongoing absence of the injured Billy Vunipola.

George Kruis replaces the dropped Charlie Ewels to partner Saracens team-mate Maro Itoje in the second row.

Jonathan Joseph, who came on for the injured Manu Tuilagi in Paris, now starts in the centres as the Leicester powerhouse continues to be sidelined by a groin strain.

The second row sees George Kruis come in for Charlie Ewels, the Bath lock who has also paid the price for a below-par opening to the championship in Paris.

Luke Cowan-Dickie is no longer on the bench due to his wife going into labour, meaning Tom Dunn could make his debut as a replacement, as could uncapped Saracens flanker Ben Earl.

Veteran Australian coach Jones has opted for a six-two split between forwards and backs on his bench, indicating a wish to overpower Scotland up front.

England will be looking for a first Six Nations win over Scotland in three years following a 25-13 loss at Murrayfield in 2017 and last year's extraordinary 38-38 draw at Twickenham -- a match where they led the Scots 34-0.

Scotland also lost their opening match of the Six Nations, going down 19-12 away to Ireland.

"We have sought to address the issues from the France game and have had a really good and sharp preparation for Scotland," said Jones in a Rugby Football Union statement issued Thursday.

"Scotland are a dangerous side. They like to play with a lot of width and with a lot of flow and tempo in their game. We want to make sure we dominate the gain line.

"Their win record against England at Murrayfield is substantially higher than their overall record against us, so we have to recognise they are a dangerous beast and we have to be at our best to beat them."

Scotland are due to name their side later Thursday

England (15-1)

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

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

Coach: Eddie Jones (AUS)