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Former WP lock gets England start

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Eddie Jones has named the team for England’s match against Japan at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

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David Ribbans will make his England debut after being named at lock.

The 27-year-old Ribbans represented Werstern Province between 2015 and 2016 before moving to Northampton Saints in 2017.

He will play alongside Jonny Hill (lock), while props Ellis Genge (vice-captain) and Kyle Sinckler and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie will complete the tight five.

Sam Simmonds comes in at No.8 with Maro Itoje and Tom Curry staying as flanks.

There is a return for Jonny May, following injury, for the first time since November 2021 on the left wing. Jack Nowell (vice-captain) is at right wing and Freddie Steward is full back.

Owen Farrell (inside centre) will again captain the side for his 99th cap. Guy Porter comes in at outside centre.

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Jack van Poortvliet will start at scrumhalf and Marcus Smith stays at flyhalf.

Jamie George also returns from injury and is named as finisher, alongside Alex Coles who could add to the debut cap he won last week. They are joined by Mako Vunipola, Joe Heyes, Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Henry Slade and Manu Tuilagi to complete the 23.

Eddie Jones said: “We’ve worked hard this week to improve on last week’s performance. We’ve taken a good look at our preparation and we are happy with our position going into the game.

“We’ve made a few changes to the side as we play these four games in November. In particular with Manu we are balancing his workload.

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“Japan are a very good and intriguing side. They play a unique type of rugby based on continuity and team cohesion and we’ll have to be at our best against them at Twickenham on Saturday.”

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Guy Porter, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Manu Tuilagi

Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 15.15 (15.15 GMT; 00.15 Sunday, November 13 Japan time)
Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (Australia) & Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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