Eddie Jones springs selection surprise for Wallabies clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: England coach Eddie Jones sprang a surprise on Thursday when he named powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi on the wing for this weekend’s Cook Cup clash against Australia at Twickenham.
Tuilagi’s only previous Test appearance in the position came on tour against New Zealand in 2014 and was not repeated by Stuart Lancaster, Jones’s predecessor as England coach.
The move appeared motivated by Jones’s wish to field flyhalf Marcus Smith alongside England captain Owen Farrell at inside centre.
Jones had thought of deploying the duo as a 10-12 combination during last week’s match against Tonga.
But he was prevented from doing so after Smith was only deemed fit enough to be on the bench and Farrell sidelined by what turned out to be a false positive test for the coronavirus, with utility back George Furbank at flyhalf.
Now, however, the pair are set to start a match together for the first time, with Farrell making his 100th Test appearance – a tally that includes six caps for the British and Irish Lions – and Smith looking to build on a try-scoring effort during a 69-3 thrashing of Tonga after coming on as a replacement.
England will be looking to make it eight successive wins over the Wallabies under Jones, appointed after his native Australia helped knock tournament hosts England out of the 2015 World Cup.
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Manu Tuilagi, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Alex Dombrandt, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Raffi Quirke, 23 Max Malins.
Date: Saturday, November 13
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 17.30 (17.30 GMT; 04.30 AEDT Sunday, November 14)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 11, 2021