6N: Hughes back at No. 8 for England v Scotland
LONDON (AP) — No. 8 Nathan Hughes will start for England against Scotland in Six Nations rugby at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Hughes recovered from knee ligament damage in club play in December, and was conveniently fit in time to replace the absent Sam Simmonds, who featured against Italy and Wales.
“Nathan Hughes has worked hard on his fitness. I’ve never seen him in better physical condition, so we are looking forward to him playing,” England coach Eddie Jones said in a statement on Thursday.
Simmonds was withdrawn at halftime of the 12-6 victory over Wales because of a shoulder injury and is expected to miss the restr of the Six Nations.
Billy Vunipola, first choice in the position, was unavailable because of a broken arm but Hughes offered a similar ball-carrying threat compared to the lighter and more mobile Simmonds.
“Nathan has a key role in defense and in us gaining momentum in attack,” Jones said.
Hughes was the only change to the run-on side.
The only change in the reserves saw Joe Marler replace Alec Hepburn after serving a six-week ban for a dangerous clear-out and will provide cover for loosehead prop Mako Vunipola.
Flanker James Haskell, also available after completing a ban, was unable to force his way into the 23.
The 136th Calcutta Cup clash - the game’s oldest international fixture - will register milestones for lock Joe Launchbury and captain Dylan Hartley.
Launchbury is to win his 50th England cap, having made his debut against Fiji in 2012, while Hartley becomes the team’s second most capped player by surpassing the 91-appearance mark set by Jonny Wilkinson.
England: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Owen Farrell, Jonny May, George Ford, Danny Care; Nathan Hughes, Chris Robshaw, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley (captain), Mako Vunipola. Reserves: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, George Kruis, Sam Underhill, Richard Wigglesworth, Ben Te’o, Jack Nowell.