England staged a public training session at Twickenham in front of hordes of spectators where Jones put his squad through their paces for an hour in front of the crowd – and Prince Harry.
Italy, who England play a week tomorrow, shipped 63 points against Ireland last Saturday but Jones looks set to resist the temptation to blood too many new faces and risk losing momentum in the Six Nations.
And that means skipper Hartley, under pressure from Jamie George after being substituted early in game against France and Wales, looks set to stay as a starter.
George’s stats from Cardiff dwarfed his captain – he was only on for 34 minutes – but England leaped to Hartley’s defence.
Eddie Jones put his squad through their paces in front of a packed crowd
Dylan Hartley looks set to remain as a starter agains Italy
Assistant coach Steve Borthwick said: “If you look at the way that the England scrum has gone in the first part of the Six Nations Dylan has been a central factor in driving that. That’s not just on a match day, that’s every single day and driving that standard.”
Jones ran his team showing four changes from the XV that started against Wales last weekend with Ben Te’o, James Haskell, Jonny May and Ellis Genge all involved but under-pressure captain Dylan Hartley trained with the first team.
And there were positional switches from Cardiff with Elliot Daly running at outside centre and Owen Farrell switched to fly-half.
George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Jack Clifford and Joe Marler look likely to be among the substitutes as England bid for a 17th win on the trot.
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Genge’s participation at loose-head seems to depend on how Mako Vunipola pulls up after his first start since Dec 18 for Saracens against Gloucester last night (FRI).
Haskell has not started a Test since the second international against Australia in June after foot surgery and has been one of Jones’ ‘finishers’ off the bench in the opening two games.
But he looks likely to run on at open side from the off after playing 16 minutes against France and 32 against Wales.