Eddie Jones picks his England Elite Player Squad on Wednesday
By Julian Crabtree
Last Updated: 13/01/16 6:00pm
Eddie Jones will make his first big call as England coach on Wednesday afternoon when he announces his Elite Player Squad.
Jones, who took over from Stuart Lancaster after England's disappointing 2015 World Cup campaign, has already rung the changes with his coaching staff - Paul Gustard is the new defensive coach, Steve Borthwick and Ian Peel will look after the forwards, while Jones himself will focus on England's attack.
However, it is his squad selection that holds the most interest and will give an indication of the direction in which Jones wants to take England.
Of course Jones cannot make wholesale changes - in fact under the deal between the RFU and the English clubs - he can only make 11 changes from the existing 33-man EPS.
Saracens lock Maro Itoje and Wasps centre Elliot Daly are sure to be included while the likes of Geoff Parling, Richard Wigglesworth and Joe Marler could miss out.
Jones will not name his captain just yet but will England's World Cup captain Chris Robshaw make the squad?
Lancaster's loyalty to Robshaw as both a skipper and a No 7 was the object of fierce criticism due to the lack of a genuine openside, and some of his decision-making really hurt England.
Matt Kvesic is the front-runner to take on the No 7 jersey but Robshaw's form for Harlequins at No 6 has been excellent, and Jones could well be tempted to keep him in the squad. However competition in the back row will be fierce, with the emerging talents of Josh Beaumont, Luke Wallace, Will Fraser, Jack Clifford and Itoje, who can play lock and No 6.
Another 'problem' area from the World Cup was the centres. Lancaster could never quite settle on a centre pairing and used 15 different partnerships including the much-maligned league convert Sam Burgess.
Burgess has returned to his league roots with the South Sydney Rabbitohs but the form of Daly and the return of Manu Tuilagi after 15 months off injured is sure to excite.
Tuilagi has only just returned to action for Leicester and it will be highly unlikely that he his ready for Six Nations action. With Henry Slade injured it could mean that Jones sticks with veteran Brad Barritt, who also brings a wealth of defensive leadership to the table.
Bath's Jonathan Joseph and Exeter's Sam Hill are also strong contenders while Jones also has the option of using fly-half Owen Farrell for the No 12 jersey.
Saracens' winger Chris Ashton, who won the last of his 39 caps in June 2014, is also likely to make a return.
While injuries are a concern with the likes of George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Kieran Brookes, Jack Nowell and Dylan Hartley joining a lengthy injury list, Jones won't be looking to make wholesale changes. However, he will be looking to bring his own flavour to England's traditional strengths.
"Nothing goes away from the meat and potatoes of the game," said Jones. "You have got to be able to win your set piece well and you've got to be able to defend well.
"Then the plus bit for England is being able to attack well and that's the area that takes time because it is more complicated, it is more complex. The reality is we have got to make sure we get the simplicity in our players so that they are able to attack with freedom and express themselves."
So what changes will he make? Find out live on Sky Sports News HQ or follow our live blog on skysports.com - Wednesday 13 January from 2pm.