Vunipola returns as England chase All Blacks record in Dublin

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Eddie Jones has recalled Billy Vunipola at number eight as England travel to Ireland in the Six Nations looking to surpass New Zealand with their 19th win in succession.

England are on the hunt for consecutive Grand Slams at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, as well as the All Blacks' tier-one world record.

Vunipola has not started for England since November 2016 due to knee and ankle injuries, but capped his international return from the bench with a try as they thrashed Scotland 61-21 at Twickenham last week, which confirmed back-to-back titles for Jones' men.

No side has completed consecutive Grand Slams since the tournament's expansion in 2000.

Jones was unlikely to change his winning formula too much, with Anthony Watson replacing Jack Nowell on the wing in his only other alteration.

Nowell and Nathan Hughes, who has deputised for Vunipola at eight with distinction throughout the Six Nations, drop to the replacements.

Elliot Daly plays on the opposite wing to Watson, having recovered from concussion following a tip tackle by Fraser Brown last Saturday

"We've had a really good week's preparation," said head coach Jones. 

"The intensity of training has been good. It's going to be quite an occasion in Dublin so we understand we have to be prepared emotionally, physically and mentally.

"The message to the players has been quite simple, we're playing Ireland on Saturday and that is the only thing that counts. We are focusing on preparing well, the only thing we can control is our preparation."


England: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley (captain), Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, James Haskell, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Tom Wood, Nathan Hughes, Danny Care, Ben Te'o, Jack Nowell.