Six Nations: England breakdown

Tom Wood

Tom Wood

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Can England win the Six Nations for a second successive year?

Coach: Eddie Jones

Captain: Dylan Hartley

Old dog: Tom Wood has some mileage on the clock and, labelled “ordinary” by the new coach, the flanker will be revelling in this, his second coming.

New face: Matt Mullin isn’t exactly a new face with 13 caps over seven years but nor would he be in this squad if Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler were both fit.

Six Nations record: 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st.

Missing the action: Mako and Billy Vunipola will both miss the start of the competition, with the No.8 sidelined for the duration along with Chris Robshaw and Manu Tuilagi, below.

Reasons to be cheerful: They can’t lose under Eddie Jones and are on a 14-match winning streak. Owen Farrell will kick almost everything and everyone buys into the game plan.

Reasons to be fearful: They can’t keep winning every match under Jones! Those injuries are a big loss, especially Billy V, and the front row no longer ranks alongside the Spanish Inquisition, or your local dentist, as a harbinger of pain.

Odds: 10/11

Prediction: 2nd

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