Jones defends lack of new England faces


Eddie Jones has defended a lack of new faces in his first England team, saying his priority is picking a side capable of beating Scotland in Saturday's Six Nations opener.

Jones was appointed in November as successor to Stuart Lancaster, who oversaw a poor home Rugby World Cup in which England were eliminated in the pool stages.

There have been calls for the likes of Saracens forward Maro Itoje and Wasps centre Elliot Daly to be given an opportunity on the international stage.

However, Jones has opted to rely on experience with eight of the starting XV part of the team beaten by Australia at the World Cup, although uncapped trio Paul Hill, Jack Clifford and Ollie Devoto are among the replacements.

But Jones is happy with his selections and says the likes of Itoje and Daly will get their chance in due course.

"I've picked the best 23 to win the match," Jones stressed. "I know you love them [Itoje and Daly], I read the papers every day.

"It shows the strength of the Premiership if they are the form players you say but are not in the 23 but they'll get picked when they are ready for Test rugby.

"It's not about giving people opportunities. It's about winning Tests. The new guys will be picked when they are ready to play Test rugby. The likes of Maro Itoje, Elliot Daly and others will get their chance.

"I can sense the togetherness in the team but we have not been exposed to a Test match yet. Experience will be crucial in winning games like this one.

"If you look at the past Six Nations champions they all have 500-600 caps. So I took that into account when naming my 23."