Rugby: Manu Tuilagi cast as new England coach Steve Borthwick to name the squad for the Six Nations opener against Scotland.

Manu Tuilagi of England was dropped. Photo / Getty

Manu Tuilagi was dropped as new coach Steve Borthwick withdrew England with eight changes for the Six Nations opener against Scotland this weekend.

Despite frequent absences forced by injury, Tuilagi were always picked when available. But he was not in the league.

Joe Marchant was preferred in the middle after injuries ruled out Henry Slade, Dan Kelly and Elliot Daly in the build-up to the Twickenham game on Sunday (NZ time).

Marchant, who started four games in the 2022 Six Nations, earned his last cap during Australia’s mid-year tour.


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New faces were made everywhere after 2022 ended with a home defeat to South Africa and the dismissal of coach Eddie Jones.

London winger Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his England debut, and winger Ben Curry has his first cap since June 2021 and will win against the United States.

Curry formed a new back row with Lewis Ludlam and No 8 Alex Dombrandt, appearing for the first time in a year. Maronis Itoje was the second partner of Ollie Chess, who came on as a forward for June on the tour of Australia after making his debut off the bench in the Six Nations.

In the reserves, Harlequins hooker Jack Walker could make his England debut, Dan Cole could earn his first cap since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, and Anthony Watson could make his next England appearance since March 2021.


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Scotland dropped halfback Ali Price and promoted Ben White.

Price started as a key No 9 for Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, and started all four Tests in the autumn. But the Glasgow form was taken away, while White excelled in London for Ireland. George Horne was in reserve at halfback for Glasgow.

Price was one of four British and Irish Lions not to make the starting side, alongside prop Zander Fagerson, winger Hamish Watson and center Chris Harris, who was in the reserves.

Fagerson started training only last week after a hamstring injury in December but Townsend said this test was too early for him. He was replaced by WP Nel, who reached 50 caps in November.

The absence of Watson – he picked up against New Zealand in November and only returned to action last weekend – and Rory Darge was compensated by the selection of Luke Crosbie, who has been Edinburgh’s player of the season twice. Crosbie, who has been in the Scotland squad since 2013, is in his third cap.

Harris and Darcy Graham made way for Huw Jones and Kyle Steyn on the injured wing. Jones has been linked in midfield with Glasgow’s Sion Tuipulot and has four tries in four matches against England. He was chosen ahead of Steyn Blair Kinghorn and Sean Maitland.

Fullback Stuart Hogg was picked despite having played in late December due to a foot injury.

England: Freddie Senescallus, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Owen Farrell (captain), Ollie Hassell-Collins, Marcus Smith, Jack van Poortvliet; Alex Dombrandt, Ben Curry, Lewis Ludlam, Ollie Chessum, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Ellis Genge.

Subsidies: Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Earl, Ben Youngs, Ollie Lawrence, Anthony Watson.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ben White; Matt Fagerson, Luke Crosbie, Jamie Ritchie (captain), Grant Gilchrist, Richie Gray, WP Nel, George Turner, Pierre Schoeman.


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Subsidies: Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan, Jonny Gray, Jack Dempsey, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn, Chris Harris.

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