The debate around the number of minutes played by England’s top players has reared its head again in the wake of the fifth-place finish in this year’s Six Nations.
Unlike the situation in Ireland, the RFU have no control over the amount of time the players play for their clubs whereas in Ireland, the IRFU can withold the players from the provinces in order to keep them well rested for the rigours of international Test rugby.
The Aviva Premiership and the Guinness PRO14 both return this weekend and there are plenty of English players who have been drafted back into their respective club sides.
James Haskell (Wasps), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Jamie George (Saracens), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), Danny Care (Harlequins), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) and Jonny May (Leicester Tigers) are all named to start for the respective clubs this weekend.
Joe Marler (Harlequins) and Mako Vunipola (Saracens) are both named on the bench for their respective sides.
So the Prem rugby teams are out and most of England's players are in – relentless.
Haskell, Launchbury, Ford, Itoje, Wigglesworth, George, Cole, Te'o, Joseph, Daly, Simmonds, Care, Robshaw, Brown, Sinckler and May all start.
Marler and Vunipola on the bench.
— Seán McMahon (@Sean_McMahon89) March 23, 2018
There are some Irish players who will be making their provincial return this weekend but for many of them, they did not rack up significant minutes during Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.