Eddie Jones names England side to tackle Springboks

2018-11-01 14:19
Eddie Jones (Getty)

London - Owen Farrell will start at flyhalf for England in their opening November international against South Africa after being named in the pivotal position when coach Eddie Jones announced his matchday 23 on Thursday.

Farrell has spent most of his England career under Australian coach Jones at inside centre, with George Ford at stand-off.

But it is Farrell, recently elevated to the position of co-captain alongside regular skipper Dylan Hartley who will wear the No 10 shirt against the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday, with Ford on the bench.

Danny Cipriani, despite being England's starting No 10 in their most recent game, a 25-10 win against South Africa in Cape Town in June where he set-up a match-winning try, had already been left out of Jones's initial training squad with the coach labelling him a "third-choice" fly-half.

Elsewhere in a revamped back division, Ben Te'o has been selected at inside centre despite being limited to only 28 minutes of rugby since May due to thigh and calf injuries.

His inclusion has left powerhouse midfielder Manu Tuilagi among the replacements, with the injury-plagued Leicester centre in line to win his first cap since 2016 if he comes off the bench.  

Henry Slade remains at outside centre, the position he played throughout the South Africa series in June that saw England, despite that Cape Town win, lose a three-match campaign 2-1.

But there was no place in the matchday 23 for experienced wing Chris Ashton, now at Sale after a spell with French giants Toulon.

Instead Jones opted for Jonny May an Jack Nowell as his wings.

Up front, injury and suspension have deprived Jones of first-choice No 8s Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes so Newcastle's in-form Mark Wilson has been selected to win his fifth cap, with Tom Curry continuing at openside flank and New Zealand-born Brad Shields back on the blindside.

Bath's uncapped No 8 Zach Mercer, who had been tipped for a starting place, is on the bench. 

The Saracens duo of George Kruis and Maro Itoje are England's locks with hooker Hartley keeping Jamie George on the bench in a front row where, with Joe Marler having retired from Test rugby and Mako Vunipola out injured, Alec Hepburn is at loosehead prop and Kyle Sinckler at tighthead.

England will return from a week-long training camp in Portugal later Thursday ahead of the first of four November internationals, with world champions New Zealand, 2019 World Cup hosts Japan and Australia all visiting Twickenham on successive weekends.

"We've become very well organised in our set piece and have done a lot of good work in Portugal over the last week," said Jones.

"We have put in a new defence system and our attack looks more organised than it was on the South Africa tour," the former Australia and Japan coach added.



15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (co-captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain), 1 Alec Hepburn
Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Danny Care, 22 George Ford, 23 Manu Tuilagi

South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Lood de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 André Esterhuizen.

@DylanHartley and @owen_faz, to face the @Springboks on Saturday ??

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