Six Nations 2020: Jonathan Joseph on wing for England v Ireland

By Chris JonesBBC rugby union correspondent
Six Nations Championship: England v Ireland
Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Sunday, 23 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app.

Centre Jonathan Joseph is on the wing for his 50th cap as head coach Eddie Jones shuffles England's backline for Sunday's Six Nations game with Ireland.

Elliot Daly moves to full-back for the Twickenham match with George Furbank, who began the first two games, injured.

Centre Manu Tuilagi is back after recovering from a groin niggle.

Prop Joe Marler replaces the unavailable Mako Vunipola, with Ben Youngs returning at scrum-half and Courtney Lawes starting on the flank.

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England team to face Ireland

Daly; May, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), Joseph; Ford, Youngs; Marler, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Kruis, Lawes, Underhill, Curry.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Launchbury, Ewels, Earl, Heinz, Slade.

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Alongside Jonny May in the back three, Daly and Joseph will have to deal with the aerial threat from Ireland half-backs Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton.

But Jones says moving Daly to full-back because Furbank has a long-standing groin and hip injury is "no disruption at all".

"Elliot has played a lot at 15, so he welcomes the opportunity," Jones added. "We don't feel he has got a deficiency [under the high ball].

"Jonathan has played on the wing for us before. He could play 12, 13 or on the wings. We used him on the wings during the World Cup, he's a versatile player.

"He's a great defender, a great defender in space, and he's got good jumping skills."

There are four personnel changes from the starting XV that edged past Scotland at Murrayfield a fortnight ago.

In addition to filling the gaps left by the unavailable Vunipola and injured Furbank, Lawes replaces Lewis Ludlam in the back row while Youngs takes over from Willi Heinz at scrum-half.

Henry Slade - who hasn't played since December because of a fractured ankle - returns to the bench.

There are also two locks, Charlie Ewels and Joe Launchbury, among the replacements as Jones again loads his bench with six forwards.

England and Ireland's results so far
Round One
France 24-17 EnglandIreland 19-12 Scotland
Round Two
Scotland 6-13 EnglandIreland 24-14 Wales

England welcome an Ireland side buoyed by two wins so far in the tournament, with head coach Andy Farrell - father of England captain Owen - taking charge of his first Six Nations campaign.

"Ireland are a very good team, extremely well-coached. They are a team we respect a lot," Jones added.

"They will bring their usual physicality and under Andy Farrell they've opened up their game a little bit.

"They are a tactically smart team. [Conor] Murray and [Johnny] Sexton, who have played 170 Tests between them, at nine and 10 will manage the game well.

"We've got to make sure we match their physicality and their emotion."

Six Nations table with team, points, won, drawn, lost, points difference, bonus points and match points: France 2, 2, 0, 0, 20, 1, 9; Ireland 2, 2, 0, 0, 17, 1, 9; Wales 2, 1, 0, 1, 32, 1, 5; England 2, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 5; Scotland 2, 0, 0, 2, -14, 2, 2; Italy 2, 0, 0, 2, -55, 0, 0

Jones has been under fire this week after apologising to a reporter for a joke at a press conference on Thursday.

In response to a question about his meditation practises, after revealing last year how mindfulness exercises were part of his morning routine, Jones said: "You must be thinking about someone else. Maybe another half-Asian person. Maybe we all look the same."

World Cup winning scrum-half Matt Dawson told BBC 5 live the England players could be starting to tire of Jones' behaviour in front of the media.

"My concern is that it will now start to affect the players. He can't help himself," Dawson said.

"The players keep laughing it off and they play it down, but there will come a point when in the back of their minds they will go: 'Eddie, shut up. Stop it. Because you are winding someone up somewhere. You are not helping'."


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