Joseph returns for England against Scotland

Owen Farrell is an injury concern after limping out of training, but Billy Vunipola is among the replacements after three months out.

Farrell is expected to be fine but, either way, England are now in slightly edgy mode. They are on a 13-game winning run at home to Scotland. The unspoken message this week, accordingly, is that England can not bank on retaining their title unless they harden up mentally, crank up the intensity and bristle a little more.

But they must start the match well.

"There's a lot to play for and several reasons why we should be able to get up for this game", Scotland coach Vern Cotter said.

Scotland captain John Barclay on taking on England who are bidding to match New Zealand's record of 18 consecutive Test wins: "We kind of feel like the expectations are more on England".

Jack Nowell replaces Jonny May on the wing, Ben Youngs returns for Danny Care at scrum-half and Jonathan Joseph is in for Ben Te'o at outside centre. There will be an urgency to impress and certainly no complacency, given the way Scotland have played so far. Dan Cole 4. Joe Launchbury 5. "For someone who's had a few ups and downs along the way, it's also testament to his character that he's knocking on 50 caps this week". "Ben Te'o can play No12, he's an exceptional player, so there's no risk for us".

However, they will need to show a marked improvement from their last outing against Italy, where they struggled for more than an hour before a strong finish earned their 36-15 victory.

Returning after injury are loose forward Billy Vunipola and wing Anthony Watson. He's in doubt but we think he'll be alright. "Whatever they serve up we'll deal with", he said.

This week there has also been renewed debate about the historical context of Swing Low, the negro spiritual adopted as an unofficial Twickenham anthem by England fans in the 1980s, but Hartley and his players will not care what the crowd sing as long as they maintain their long unbeaten record.

Jones has intriguingly canned all his media commitments outside of the usual press conference today.

Latest News