Six Nations 2018: England's Nathan Hughes returns to face Scotland

Nathan Hughes
Hughes, who could have represented either Fiji or Samoa, qualified for England on residency grounds in 2016
Six Nations 2018: Scotland v England
Venue: Murrayfield Date: Saturday, 24 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Scotland. Live text commentary and report on the BBC website and app

Nathan Hughes starts at number eight as England make one change for Saturday's Calcutta Cup match against Scotland at Murrayfield.

Hughes replaces Sam Simmonds in his first appearance of the Six Nations after recovering from a knee injury, with the rest of the XV unchanged from the side that beat Wales.

Prop Joe Marler is a replacement after serving a suspension.

"We are really excited about this game," said head coach Eddie Jones.

"We will need to be very tough and relentless in our defence to keep the pressure on his Scottish team."

Hughes has made a swift recovery from knee ligament damage, and is fit to start after a conditioning crash-course in England camp over the past few weeks.

His return is timely given the shoulder injury to Simmonds, who started England's first two games at the back of the scrum.

"Nathan Hughes has worked hard on his fitness," added Jones.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Jones compares Scotland to the All Blacks

"I've never seen him in better physical condition, so we are looking forward to seeing him playing. Nathan has a key role in defence and in us gaining momentum in attack."

Captain Dylan Hartley becomes England's second most capped player of all time when he makes his 92nd appearance, surpassing Jonny Wilkinson.

He lines up in the front row with Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole.

Elsewhere in the forward pack, lock Joe Launchbury wins his 50th cap, having made his debut in 2012.

The Wasps player resumes his partnership with Maro Itoje in the second row.

Joe Launchbury
Launchbury stacked shelves in a supermarket after being let go by Harlequins as a teenager before returning to top-flight rugby with Wasps

"For any player to play 50 caps for their country is a wonderful achievement," Jones said.

"Joe has worked really hard to improve and is such an important player for us."

Despite being retained in camp this week, there is no place in the matchday squad for James Haskell, with flanker Sam Underhill providing cover for the back-row trio of Hughes, Courtney Lawes and Chris Robshaw.

England back row set sights on Russell

Media playback is not supported on this device

Why Ugo Monye believes Scotland's Finn Russell is a maverick fly-half'

A fortnight after Jones picked out Wales 10 Rhys Patchell as a potential weakness in the Wales team, Lawes says that undermining Scotland fly-half Finn Russell will be a key part of England's gameplan.

"Finn is a confidence player so if you let him get confidence early then he's probably going to have a good game," said Lawes.

"Are we going to target him any more than any other 10? No, but we are going to target him.

"He is very good player, a quality player, and we don't want him to have a sniff at all."

Jones described Russell as "world class" and claimed that England would "have to defend him very closely."

But former England wing Ugo Monye believes that Russell - who will leave Glasgow for French side Racing 92 in the summer - is prone to game-changing errors and could be a liability for the hosts.

Russell, along with the rest of the Scotland team, under-performed in the 34-7 defeat by Wales and was replaced with 15 minutes to go and the game in the balance when Scotland beat France two weeks ago.

"Russell is going to be under incredible heat from the England back row and the backs," he told BBC Radio 5 live's Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

"They're going to get stuck into him, because they know he can be a flaky player at times.

Scotland win Calcutta Cup
It is a decade since Scotland last lifted the Calcutta Cup

"If he wants to come and chuck the ball around and play, and chip and chase and all the rest of it, I just think England will swallow it up and I think they'll force him off the pitch."

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend on Wednesday questioned the legality of England's defensive tactics, and Jones has stressed there will be no let-up in England's defensive intensity this weekend.

"They are renowned for their attack so we will need to put pressure on them, create opportunities through our defence for our attack, and convert those opportunities to points," he said.

Despite Scotland's buoyant recent form at Murrayfield, England will travel to the Scottish capital with confidence, having not lost there since 2008.

England: Brown; Watson, Joseph, Farrell, May; Ford, Care; Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Itoje, Lawes, Robshaw, Hughes.

Replacements: George, Marler, Williams, Kruis, Underhill, Wigglesworth, Te'o, Nowell

Media playback is not supported on this device

Six Nations 2018 highlights: England 12-6 Wales

Top Stories