Jones surprises with England captaincy

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 10:29

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Eddie Jones has surprised with the captaincy when he named his squad to play Samoa in the final Test of year-end internationals on Saturday.

Jones has made nine changes to the starting line-up that beat Australia 30-6 last weekend at Twickenham Stadium.

George Ford (Leicester Tigers) and Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) are named as co-captains, a role they played in England's match against the Barbarians in May.

Robshaw moves to openside flank with Maro Itoje (Saracens) starting at blindside. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) will make his first start for England at No.8 in the absence of Nathan Hughes (Wasps).

There are two changes in the front row with Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers) and Jamie George (Saracens) replacing Mako Vunipola (Saracens) and Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints). The England captain has been named as a finisher.

Charlie Ewels (Bath) will start alongside last weekend's man of the match Joe Launchbury (Wasps) in the second row.

This weekend will see Alex Lozowski (Saracens) and Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) as the centre combination with Mike Brown (Harlequins) returning to the starting 15 shirt after missing the Australia Test due to injury. Danny Care (Harlequins) will start his first Test of the series with Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) named as a finisher.

"This is an exciting squad to play against Samoa and we are expecting them to be immensely physical and committed this weekend," said Jones.

"We want to follow up last week's performance against Australia and play better again this week. Our intent in every game and every training session is to be better.

"This week it is an opportunity for some squad members who haven't been playing to put their best foot forward. We will have to play smart and will need to find ways to win the contest against Samoa.

"The crowd last week were outstanding and we want to put on a good performance again for them this weekend."

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Alex Lozowski, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford (co-captain), 9 Danny Care, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Chris Robshaw (co-captain), 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni.

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 15.00 (15.00 GMT; 03.00, Sunday, November 26 Samoan time)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)