sport news Ireland vs England composite XV: Billy Vunipola in the back row and Johnny ...

The Six Nations is back with a bang and the fixture of the weekend is certain to be Saturday's clash at the Aviva Stadium where Ireland welcome England.

Ireland are flying high after a flawless November, in which they recorded a first home win against the All Blacks in Dublin, while Eddie Jones will be buoyed in the knowledge he has the strongest squad available to him for quite some time.

With some of the world's best players set to take the field on Saturday afternoon, who, from the XVs selected to play, would make it into a composite XV? Sportsmail takes a look ... 

Rory Best's Ireland side welcome Owen Farrell and Co to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday

Rory Best's Ireland side welcome Owen Farrell and Co to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday

Full-back: Elliot Daly

Starting off with a tricky one, here. For a long while Elliot Daly was one of the first names on Eddie Jones's team sheet, a livewire in the back line with the ability to create something from nothing.

He has come under scrutiny of late after making the move from wing to full-back and has struggled to make that position his own – prompting many to call for Mike Brown to be reinstated.

But with his opposite number Robbie Henshaw press-ganged into the No 15 shirt, rather than his usual starting berth in the three-quarter line, the Wasps man gets the nod. Jones will hope Daly rediscovers his best form in this tournament – starting in Dublin.

England's Elliot Daly is a hugely-exciting player in attack but needs to find his feet at full-back

England's Elliot Daly is a hugely-exciting player in attack but needs to find his feet at full-back

Right wing: Jonny May

Jonny May has arguably been England's best player for the last 12 months. He tore up trees during the summer tour of South Africa, scoring in each of the three Tests, and has made himself virtually undroppable.

Keith Earls is a seriously good operator, however, and his importance to Ireland's watertight defence cannot be underestimated. 

But the Munster wing has not scored a Test try for almost a year, whereas his Leicester Tiger counterpart touched down eight times in 11 international appearances in 2018.

Jonny May has been in fine form for England and is one of the quickest in the tournament

Jonny May has been in fine form for England and is one of the quickest in the tournament

Outside centre: Garry Ringrose

Garry Ringrose makes defending in that notoriously difficult 13 channel look like child's play. His game management and ability to snuff out an attack is crucial to Ireland's relentless defence.

Henry Slade is a supremely-talented player and Jones will hope his ingenuity in attack can spark some magic in the wide channels. But his peerless club form with Exeter just hasn't fully transcended onto the international stage of late.

Both are full of quality by Ringrose gets the nod.

Garry Ringrose is a master of defending in the notoriously-difficult No 13 channel

Garry Ringrose is a master of defending in the notoriously-difficult No 13 channel

Inside centre: Manu Tuilagi

The return of Manu Tuilagi will provide England with that X-factor in the backline. Jones has admitted Ben Te'o would have started in the No 12 shirt, but his failure to prove his fitness may well prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Tuilagi has rekindled some of his best form since returning from a long lay-off with a knee injury and his inclusion, and the attention which comes with it, has drummed up even more excitement among England supporters. In the words of Sportsmail's Sir Clive Woodward: 'This is a world-class player coming back to top form. England can win a World Cup with him or Te'o at 12.'

Take nothing away from Bundee Aki, a truly exceptional centre in his own right, but he doesn't possess the same wow factor as Tuilagi at full tilt.

England will have the X-factor of Manu Tuilagi to call on in Dublin – albeit at inside centre

England will have the X-factor of Manu Tuilagi to call on in Dublin – albeit at inside centre

Left wing: Jacob Stockdale

Talk about a man who has taken to international rugby like a duck to water. In his first Six Nations campaign last year, the Ulster flyer smashed the try-scoring record, touching down seven times to help Ireland secure the Grand Slam.

He also scored a crucial try in the November win over the All Blacks and most recently his exploits on the wing for Ulster has helped to catapult them into the Champions Cup quarter-finals. He was named 2018 Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year to boot. 

Jack Nowell will love the challenge in Dublin and will almost certainly make life difficult for the 22-year-old. But it's hard to look past Stockdale for the No 11 shirt.

Ireland's Jacob Stockdale last year broke the record for most tries in a single campaign

Ireland's Jacob Stockdale last year broke the record for most tries in a single campaign

Fly-half: Johnny Sexton

And the whole English population go up in arms. Owen Farrell is one of the best fly-halves on the planet. In fact, he is almost certainly in the top two. The man in front of him? Johnny Sexton.

Sexton is the current holder of the World Rugby Player of the Year crown after starring in Ireland's Grand Slam triumph, Leinster claiming both the Pro14 and Champions Cup titles and the win over New Zealand in the autumn.

And there is no cheating here, we can't shoehorn Farrell in at No 12 – rules are rules. The 33-year-old will be crucial in Ireland's bid to retain the Six Nations.

Reigning World Player of the Year Johnny Sexton pips Owen Farrell to the fly-half berth

Reigning World Player of the Year Johnny Sexton pips Owen

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