Eddie Jones has rung the changes ahead of Saturday’s clash with world champions South Africa. Determined to counter the Springbok ‘bomb squad’ off the bench, Jones has made sweeping changes in the front row, as well as implementing a third lineout jumper and a taller winger.
Mako Vunipola and Jamie George take to the starting lineup first the first time this Autumn, with Ellis Genge and Luke Cowan-Dickie expected to add some firepower from the bench. Also propping up the bench (pun intended) will be last week’s superstar try scorer, Will Stuart, who will be looking to repeat his exploits from the New Zealand game.
Despite reports that Maro Itoje would be returning to the back row, he and Jonny Hill remain in a tight second-row partnership, with Alex Coles returning to the squad as an extra lineout jumper on the flank. This moves Sam Simmonds onto the bench where his explosive power will surely be an asset when he comes on.
The backline remains unchanged, besides a first appearance of the Autumn for Northampton Saints player, Tommy Freeman. This will be a huge test for the much talked about 21-year-old.
The 6 ft 2 in winger replaces Jack Nowell who struggled slightly under the high ball last week. This being said, Nowell is arguably one of the most complete wingers in world rugby so will no doubt bring a whole new dimension to the side when he inevitably comes on.
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England: Steward; Freeman, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), May; Smith, Van Poortvliet; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Hill, Coles, Curry, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Ribbans, Simmonds, Youngs, Slade, Nowell.