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Jones: I picked the team to beat Scotland

England head coach Eddie Jones has rejected criticism of a conservative team selection against Scotland by insisting his only objective is to win Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations opener at Murrayfield.

All but four of the matchday 23 were in last autumn’s World Cup squad — among the quartet is captain Dylan Hartley who missed out only for disciplinary reasons — and there is not a single debutant in the starting XV.

Jack Clifford, Paul Hill and Ollie Devoto will win their first caps off the bench in the Calcutta Cup clash, but Hill and Devoto are present only because of injuries to preferred options in their positions.

Uncapped pair Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly have been overlooked despite being in outstanding form for their clubs, prompting Toulon back row Steffon Armitage to warn that Jones is sending out the wrong message to England’s aspiring internationals.

But in picking a side containing 512 caps, Jones has made it clear his only objective is to topple the Scots.

“Selection is about picking the best 23 for the game and we feel this is the beet 23 for this game,” Jones said.

“You can describe it any way you want, but our mission is to go up there and win the Calcutta Cup. This is not about giving people opportunities, it’s about winning Test matches.

“The pressure is on the team to play well. If we’re good enough we’ll win the game. If we’re not good enough we won’t win.

“I’m not looking at a different England team. I started two months ago with a clean sheet of paper. I’ve selected a team to play a certain way against Scotland.

“We know that Murrayfield will be a tough old affair — it always is. The forecast for rain and strong winds. Ball movement will be difficult, so we’ve picked what we see as the right 23.

“The stats show you need around 560 caps to be Six Nations champions. We’ve got 512. Experience is always going to be important.”

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