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England Six Nations news

England Six Nations 2018

Under the management of their competent and highly competitive head coach Eddie Jones, England will play two home matches against Wales and Ireland and three away matches against Italy, Scotland and France in the 2018 Six Nations Championship. England will begin the defense of their Six Nations title against Italy at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday 4th February. Jones is prepared mentally for his toughest Six Nations tournament yet. Jones is aware the gap with the southern hemisphere has narrowed. England defeated Scotland at Twickenham to win the 2017 RBS 6 Nations. “I’m excited about the Six Nations as we’ve got the opportunity to create history by winning it three consecutive times.” England won 9 of 10 Tests in 2017. Twickenham Stadium was the venue for wins against Argentina, Australia and Samoa that raised Jones' record to 22 wins from 23 Tests at the halfway point of his four-year contract. England have won back-to-back Six Nations titles with Ireland defeating South Africa and Scotland beating Australia.

"The British and Irish Lions series against New Zealand showed what the standard will be," Jones said. "The quality of the players that went on the Lions series showed that the quality of the domestic teams in Europe at the moment is high, therefore the quality of the players is high. I would anticipate that this Six Nations is going to be harder than any of the Six Nations we've played in previously. But I wouldn't get too excited that the north-south hemisphere gap has gone. You're playing against teams that have played 14 Tests - the All Blacks have played 14 Tests already this year. You've got to look at where they are, but definitely, the European sides are moving in a positive direction." Jones did not name his player of the series as has become his custom. However, Elliot Daly was noticed after running in two eye-catching tries in Saturday's 48-14 win against Samoa including one outstanding solo effort. Apparently, Jones has converted the Wasps midfielder into a predatory wing who has been rewarded with a return of 6 tries from 16 outings after telling him to "play as a center and defend on the wing".

"Elliot's had a really good series. He's probably, of all the Lions guys, come back the best, got more spring in his step," added Jones. "I always thought he was a natural winger when I watched him play. Left foot. Speed. Ability to come in off his wing. Exactly all the things I thought he could do he can do at Test level. You never think about the limit for the player. You always think they can get better. There's no reason why he can't get better now. He can be a better player next year than he is this year. He can get quicker, he can get stronger, he can get better conditioned than he is, and he will. First he's got to get in our side, then he can get into a world XV." Manu Tuilagi is on Jones’ radar for his England side with the powerful center scheduled to make his comeback from suffering knee ligament damage earlier in December. "All I can remember is Manu playing at his best against New Zealand,” continued Jones. ‘If he is capable of doing that consistently then there's a chance of being in our squad, We're going to find out his desire to work hard. As you get older it gets harder to come back from those injuries so we'll see. Time will be the teacher."

Looking back, 2017 has been a busy year for England from retaining titles to equaling records and introducing new faces to the international stage. England began 2017 with the defense of their Six Nations crown a top priority and got off to a good start by registering a 19-16 win over France at Twickenham Stadium. Owen Farrell traded penalties with Les Bleus fly-half Camille Lopez throughout of Le Crunch, before center Ben Te’o crossed for his first Test try as England recorded their 15th win in a row going past the record of Martin Johnson’s 2002-03 England side. Jones’ men left it late against Wales in the second round, emerging as 21-16 winners. Elliot Daly delivered a superb score to clinch England’s victory in the Cardiff clash. A 36-15 defeat of Italy followed which set up the Six Nations title-deciding clash with Scotland a week later. In front of a packed Twickenham crowd, England recorded their highest score of the year against Scotland in the finale, with seven tries to register an impressive 61-21 win. In doing so they retained the Calcutta Cup and Six Nations title. England were unable to secure Grand Slam glory after Ireland won a 13-9 victory in Dublin in the final game of the RBS 6 Nations championship, as England endured their first loss under the stewardship of Jones. Notably, England equaled the record of 18 consecutive wins, set by the All Blacks. Both side’s winning runs were ended by the Irish.

2017 British & Irish Lions
Fifteen England rugby players participated in the British & Irish Lions 10-match down-under tour of New Zealand last summer, after impressing head coach Warren Gatland. Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Dan Cole, Jamie George, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes and James Haskell were named as forwards, and were joined in the squad by backs Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, Jonathan Joseph, Ben Te’o, Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell who all played key roles on the tour, which saw 5 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws. After a 30-15 loss to the All Blacks in the first Test, the Lions rallied to clinch their second clash in Wellington 24-21, with Owen Farrell earning 14 points. The final match ended 15-15 and saw the series drawn. Across the three Test matches, 34 of the 54 points scored by the Lions were done so by Englishmen.

With a large English contingent away with the British & Irish Lions, England head coach Eddie Jones named 16 uncapped players in his summer squad for the two-Test series against Argentina. In what was a fast-paced first game in San Juan, England came back from trailing at halftime to win 38-34 thanks to a last-gasp solo score from debutant Denny Solomona. In the same match, first caps were earned by Tom Curry, Alex Lozowski, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson, Don Armand, Will Collier, Piers Francis, Nick Isiekwe and Jack Maunder. Curry is now the youngest England starter since Colin Laird in 1927. Captain Dylan Hartley won his 85th cap to move ahead of Martin Johnson, and alongside Rory Underwood and Lawrence Dallaglio, to become the third-equal most capped England international of all time. England sealed a 2-0 series win a week later by beating Los Pumas 35-25 in Santa Fe with 15 points from the boot of George Ford along with the first Test tries for Charlie Ewels, Collier and Francis. Hartley is the third most capped England player of all time (89) and two behind Jonny Wilkinson, who sits in second.

Maro Itoje will be available for the start of England’s Six Nations title defense after Saracens revealed he faces a maximum of four more weeks in rehabilitation. Itoje required surgery on a fractured jaw sustained in the 20-19 defeat at Harlequins on December 3, resulting in two plates being inserted into his face and raising the alarm that he may not be fit to face Italy on February 4. Itoje, a Test British and Irish Lion, departed in the 48th minute at Twickenham Stoop following a collision with England team-mate Mike Brown. The world player of the year nominee was given a reduced role in the Autumn International series due to Eddie Jones’ desire to manage his workload, missing the opener against Argentina, playing as a replacement for the visit of Australia before starting against Samoa. “Maro is probably three or four weeks away. He went to see the specialist who said a maximum of six weeks and he’s already done a week and a half,” director of rugby Mark McCall said.

Nathan Hughes and Elliot Daly will miss the first half of England’s Six Nations title defence due to injury. The Wasps pair limped off in Sunday’s Champions Cup defeat of La Rochelle at Ricoh Arena but neither player requires surgery. However both rugby players face extended spells in the treatment room. A specialist has confirmed that Hughes will take 8 - 10 weeks to recover from his knee problem and Daly’s sprained ankle is expected to take 10-12 weeks of rehabilitation probably ruling the wing out of the entire Six Nations championship. Wasps’ playmaker Jimmy Gopperth will also miss 10 - 12 weeks of the season due to a knee injury. Director of rugby Dai Young revealed on Tuesday that following scans the trio would be ruled out for at least a month and while none of them needs an operation, they are unavailable until February at the earliest. Hughes and Gopperth have MCL injuries and Daly has been struck down by a high ankle sprain. They will miss Aviva Premiership fixtures against Gloucester, Bath, Saracens, London Irish and Leicester as well as the last rounds of the Champions Cup group phase against Ulster and Harlequins. Hughes and Daly have become key rugby players for England, and Eddie Jones will plan for their return at a later point in the Six Nations. The clash with Scotland on February 24 is the earliest possible match in which Hughes can make a comeback, while the round against France on March 10 is the soonest Daly can be considered even if his recovery goes well. Billy Vunipola’s imminent return from knee surgery is another setback for Jones and while England have reserve wings, Jones will miss Daly. “If a plant doesn’t get sunshine and water it doesn’t grow. Players are the same; they need new ideas and variety to grow,” said England manager Eddie Jones

England RBS 6 Nations Squad Selection
On the road to NatWest 6 Nations, some England rugby players are notably in form ahead of squad selections. Luke Cowan-Dickie stood out as Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs earned a bonus-point victory at Northampton Saints. Jack Yeandle's 81st-minute score earned Exeter all 5 points from their 35-14 success at Franklin's Gardens. Fellow hooker Cowan-Dickie was named man of the match after making on 14 carries while also chipping in with 5 tackles in an exciting match.Danny Cipriani kicked 19 points as Wasps moved to second place on the table with a 49-24 victory at Gloucester while a try from Mike Brown and 5 points from the boot of Marcus Smith, however, Harlequins lost 11-10 at Newcastle Falcons. Eddie Jones called up Smith for his England squad for the recent Autumn Internationals, Sale Sharks defeated Bath 32-9 Friday night due to a pair of Scotland internationals, Byron McGuigan and Josh Strauss, who both crossed.

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On February 4, England travel to Stadio Olimpico to face Italy. Then in a not-to-be-missed clash, England host Wales at Twickenham Stadium on February 10. England travel to Scotland to go head-to-head with the Scots at Murrayfield on February 24. France host England at Mar Stade de France stadium on March 10. And on March 17, England host Ireland at Twickenham Stadium in London next.