Tuilagi, Hartley on England bench for Wallabies clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: England head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play Australia on Saturday in their last Test of the 2018 November internationals.
There are nine changes to the side that faced Japan last weekend with three positional switches.
Jamie George (Saracens) retains his place at hooker with props Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs) and Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) returning to the starting line-up.
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) shifts from the backrow to the second row alongside Maro Itoje (Saracens). Sam Underhill (Bath) will start at openside flank with Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) moving to No.8 and Brad Shields (Wasps) returning to blindside flank.
Co-captain Owen Farrell (Saracens) is named at flyhalf with Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) and Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) as the centre pairing.
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath) will play on the right wing with Jonny May (Leicester Tigers) named on the opposite side.
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), who recently had a drop in his RugbyPass Index score, has been passed fit to play and is named as a replacement. The Tigers centre last played for England in 2016. Nathan Hughes (Wasps) is also included on the bench following the conclusion of his suspension.
Co-captain Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) is in line to make a record 56th international appearance at Twickenham this weekend. He is currently level with Jason Leonard on 55 appearances at the home of England Rugby.
“We’re developing a unique style of rugby, which is English, and the players are proud to play that way.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) November 22, 2018
Jones said: “We’ve picked our best 23 for the Australia game. We know they have a unique style of attack so our ability to defend that is going to be important. We are continually working on our strengths which is our set piece and our defence and they are areas that are progressing nicely.
“I’m really happy with the direction we’re going in terms of the way we play the game. We are developing a unique style of rugby, which is English and the players are proud to play that way.
“The second part is the leadership of the team through the co-captaincy of Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell has been outstanding. We have seen growth in the togetherness of the team and I think we’ve seen that in the spirit in which they’ve played.
“Australia, we know are a traditional rival and we enjoy the occasion of playing them at Twickenham. The spirit of the fans has been outstanding. I think the atmosphere during these Internationals has been the best atmosphere I’ve certainly experienced and we encourage the fans to be at their robust best at the weekend.”
England have won their last five games against Australia and four of the last five at Twickenham against the Wallabies.
*The RugbyPass Index is giving England an 81 percent Win Likelihood for the match in London on Saturday.
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (co-captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley (co-captain), 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 George Ford, 23 Manu Tuilagi.
Date: Saturday, November 24
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 15.00 (15.00 GMT; 02.00 AEDT Sunday, November 25)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)