England head coach Eddie Jones has named Elliot Daly in his starting XV for Saturday's (4 February) Six Nations curtain-raiser against France at Twickenham. The versatile Wasps back will start opposite Jonny May on the left wing, with Jack Nowell, who reportedly missed training on Tuesday due to personal reasons, only included as a replacement.
Daly impressed during autumn victories over South Africa and Fiji, but saw his series ended by a three-week ban handed down by World Rugby for a reckless tackle against Argentina. With less than five minutes on the clock, the 24-year-old became only the fifth England player ever and the first since 2005 to be sent off, after taking out Leonardo Senatore in the air.
The rest of the team is as expected, with lock Maro Itoje beginning at blindside flanker for the first time to compensate for the absence of former captain Chris Robshaw. Jones has kept faith in that plan despite this week's loss of George Kruis due to a knee ligament injury suffered in training.
Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes renew their partnership in the second row, once again demonstrating the defending Grand Slam champions' formidable strength in depth.
Joe Marler is deemed fit enough to start in the front row after recovering from a lower leg fracture in just three weeks and Matt Mullan is selected ahead of Ellis Genge as the back-up loosehead. Tom Wood continues at openside after a stellar autumn and Nathan Hughes once again deputises for Billy Vunipola, who, along with brother Mako, is still recovering from a knee problem. The injury-plagued James Haskell and Teimana Harrison are on hand to cover the back-row.
"We've been able to select a very strong and experienced team to play against France and we are excited to get the tournament underway," Jones, also without the likes of Anthony Watson and Manu Tuilagi, said. "There's a great rivalry between the countries so we're looking forward to a great occasion playing against one of England's oldest foes."
France are due to name their team later today. Guy Noves is also currently attempting to navigate something of an injury crisis, with key centre Wesley Fofana sidelined by a ruptured achilles. Camille Chat, Raphael Lakafia, Henry Chavancy, Eddy Ben Arous and Yann David are also missing.
England's starting XV to face France at Twickenham on 4 February
15. Mike Brown, 14. Jonny May, 13. Jonathan Joseph, 12. Owen Farrell, 11. Elliot Daly, 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Joe Marler, 2. Dylan Hartley, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. Courtney Lawes, 6. Maro Itoje, 7. Tom Wood, 8. Nathan Hughes.
Replacements: 16. Jamie George, 17. Matt Mullan, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Teimana Harrison, 20. James Haskell, 21. Danny Care, 22. Ben Te'o, 23. Jack Nowell.