Jones 'mix and match' for Italy
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: England coach Eddie Jones named a mix and match side to play Italy in a World Cup warm-up match at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Friday.
Joe Marchant is named at outside centre, with Piers Francis at inside centre.
Owen Farrell, who captains the team, starts at flyhalf, while debutant Ruaridh McConnochie is named on the right wing – with Anthony Watson at fullback.
Dan Cole starts alongside Jamie George and Joe Marler in the front row.
Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes are the lock pairing. Mark Wilson will start at openside flank with Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola making up the rest of the back row.
“We are delighted to be playing against Italy, one of our traditional Six Nations rivals,” Jones said.
“The game for us is another important step to develop our game fitness and game strategy.
“We have gone with a mix and match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team’s ability to cope with any situation.
“We have had a solid training week in Treviso with hot conditions so we are looking forward to testing ourselves against Italy on Friday.
“Then we hop on the plane and are ready to go to Japan.”
This is the first England Test match to be played at St James’ Park in Newcastle, which hosted three World Cup fixtures in 2015.
“We are excited to be playing in Newcastle,” Jones added.
“We are playing at an iconic football ground and we know the area is an important one for rugby in the northern part of England. We are looking forward to seeing and playing in front of the fans.”
England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Mark Wilson, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 George Ford, 23 Joe Cokanasiga.
Date: Friday, September 6
Venue: James’ Park, Newcastle
Kick-off: 19.45 (20.45 Italy time; 18.45 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
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