18 Mar 2016

England make two changes for Six Nations decider

5:50 am on 18 March 2016

Danny Care and Mako Vunipola will start for England this weekend after coach Eddie Jones announced two changes to his side to play France in Paris where a win would secure a Six Nations grand slam in his first season in charge.

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones Photo: Photosport

Halfback Care again swaps places with Ben Youngs, who drops to the bench, while prop Vunipola also continues his on-off battle with Joe Marler for the starting loosehead slot.

Marler was named among the replacements having been cleared on two counts following a citing for use of an elbow and complaints that he called Wales' Samson Lee 'Gypsy Boy' during last week's Twickenham victory.

"We've picked our best 23 who we know can get the job done in Paris," Jones said in a statement. "Everyone wants to be on the field this Saturday so selection was nip and tuck.

"While we are pleased to have already won the championship we don't want to let our foot off the gas.

"The objective has always been to win every game, to be the most dominant team in Europe, so it's been very important for us to approach this week with the same level of intensity we have shown in previous weeks," added Jones.

"We go to Paris full of confidence and a hunger to get the win."

Though Jones has been in the job for only a few months he will be aware England have been in this situation a few times in recent years but have a poor record in sealing the deal.

In 1999, the last year of the Five Nations, 2000 and 2001 England lost their final games to Wales, Scotland and Ireland before getting it right in 2003 against an Irish team also chasing the slam.

Martin Johnson was captain of the 2003 team, who went on to lift the World Cup, and he was coach in 2011 when England, with the title secured, again fell at the final hurdle, away to Ireland.

Stuart Lancaster's hopes of a sweep in his second year in charge disappeared with a 30-3 thrashing in Cardiff two years later, one of four second-place finishes during his watch.

If England win on Sunday morning (NZ time) it will be their 13th all-time clean sweep, two more than next-best Wales.