• Dylan Hartley starts as hooker, but not as captain 
  • No place for Chris Robshaw in the squad
  • Joe Launchbury picked as captain for the Six Nations 
Front Row - Marler, Hartley, Cole (Bench: Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, Thomas)
 
I'd go for Dylan Hartley as hooker despite him not having played much rugby. He's one of the more consistent performers from a lineout point of view and also around the park, although he wouldn't be my captain.
 
I like Luke Cowan-Dickie – he's a bit of a pocket cannonball who flies around the pitch in the loose and is a very strong ball carrier.  He needs to develop his set-piece game but is certainly an exciting talent. Tom Youngs' throwing is nowhere near as bad as people have made out and I think he's playing incredibly well this year and so unlucky to miss out.
 
As far as the props are concerned, Joe Marler and Dan Cole probably deserve to retain their spots at the moment. 
 
Second Row - Launchbury, Lawes (Bench: Itoje)
 
I'd like to see Maro Itoje get the call, though it may be too soon for him at this stage.  He really deserves an opportunity to play though, so I'd have him on the bench.
 
As long as he's fit, Joe Launchbury deserves to start.  I like him as a player, he's got that presence. He's a great ball carrier and he's athletic.  He reminds me of a younger Martin Johnson in terms of being an imposing figure.
 
Back Row - Clifford, Kvesic, Haskell (Bench: B Vunipola)
 
I'd have James Haskell at No.8 and I'd opt for Matt Kvesic at seven. He's playing out of his skin and deserves the chance.  It would be a toss-up between Jack Clifford and Chris Robshaw at six, but on form, I'd go for Clifford.  Billy Vunipola to make an impact from the bench.
 
I think Clifford is playing really well at the moment, but Kvesic has the lead on him at seven so I'd play Jack at six because he's worthy of a start, given his form. He can also cover seven and No. 8 if there are injuries.
 
It's probably quite harsh on Chris Robshaw, who would drop out of the matchday 23 entirely. It's the toughest selection because he's been playing well for Quins. 
 
Scrum-half - Youngs (Bench: Care)
 
Ben's performed really well at Leicester Tigers, he's really matured as a player and as a young man.  He gets the nod over Danny Care, who's also been playing well.
 
Fly-half - Farrell (Bench: Ford)
 
Ford is a better distributor and a more elusive attacking rugby player, but Farrell brings you that rock-solid defence akin to Jonny Wilkinson, and he brings you consistency.
 
Is Eddie looking for an out-and-out playmaker at ten or is he looking for consistency?  I'll go with Owen to start against Scotland.
 
Centres - Tuilagi, Joseph
 
It's great to see Manu Tuilagi back playing for Leicester and Richard Cockerill has said that he should be fit to play some part with England in the Six Nations.  
 
Will he play earlier than expected or than we're being led to believe?  Manu is a young man who doesn't need any added pressure put on him. You've got to look after your players so they're allowed to get on with playing their rugby and Leicester are good at that. England need him though, there's no doubt about that.  
 
Ollie Devoto and Elliot Daly have both been playing well, but neither of them are Manu Tuilagi.  It solves a lot of problems if Manu's fit. You don't have to worry about maybe playing Ford and Farrell together or putting two outside centres in. If I was Eddie Jones I'd be busting a gut to get Manu ready for that Scotland match.
 
Back three - Nowell, Watson, Brown (Bench - Devoto)
 
Mike Brown would be my full back and Anthony Watson starts every time for me.  He's just so dangerous as a ball runner. I'd have Jack Nowell in just ahead of Marland Yarde, though he has been playing really well for Quins.  
 
The bench position could be occupied by Elliot Daly, but if you wanted more versatility then Devoto arguably covers more positions given his experience at fly-half, centre and full back.  Goode is in there but he doesn't cover as much of the back line.
 
One person we've not mentioned is the injured Henry Slade.  If he was fit he'd start for me and I'd accommodate him in the centre alongside Manu.  He was outstanding at the World Cup. 
 
Captain - Joe Launchbury
 
I'd always prefer a forward as captain, just because you've got someone who's in the thick of the battle, an imposing character.
 
Dylan Hartley is nearly thirty and although there's no problem with someone being captain at that age, I'd rather see someone given the role early on in their career, like Martin Johnson, Will Carling, Lawrence Dallaglio, John Eales or Richie McCaw and allow them to grow into being a great leader.
 
As a player you can be a good leader because you lead by example, you say the right things and you understand the game.  I'd give that guy the chance to be captain and fulfil that potential.  I'd give it to a young man who is going to be first on your teamsheet every week and Joe Launchbury fits that mould well.