OWEN FARRELL WILL start at out-half for England in their opening November international against South Africa after being named in the pivotal position by Eddie Jones.
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Farrell has spent most of his England career under Australian coach Jones at inside centre, with George Ford at stand-off.
But it is Farrell, recently elevated to the position of co-captain alongside regular skipper Dylan Hartley who will wear the number 10 shirt against the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday [KO 3pm, Sky Sports] with Ford on the bench.
Danny Cipriani, despite being England’s starting out-half in their most recent game against South Africa in June and producing an excellent opening to the season at new club Gloucester, had already been left out of Jones’s initial training squad with the coach labelling him a “third-choice” 10.
Elsewhere in a revamped back division, Ben Te’o has been selected at inside centre despite being limited to only 28 minutes of rugby since May due to thigh and calf injuries.
His inclusion has left powerhouse midfielder Manu Tuilagi among the replacements, with the injury-plagued Leicester centre in line to win his first cap since 2016 if he comes off the bench.
Henry Slade remains at outside centre, the position he played throughout the South Africa series in June that saw England, despite that Cape Town win, lose a three-match campaign 2-1.
But there was no place in the matchday 23 for experienced wing Chris Ashton, now at Sale after a spell with French giants Toulon.
Instead Jones opted for Jonny May an Jack Nowell as his wings.
Up front, injury and suspension have deprived Jones of first-choice number eights Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes so Newcastle’s in-form Mark Wilson has been selected to win his fifth cap, with Tom Curry continuing at openside flanker and New Zealand-born Brad Shields back on the blindside.
Bath’s uncapped back row Zach Mercer, who had been tipped for a starting place, is on the bench.
The Saracens duo of George Kruis and Maro Itoje are England’s locks with hooker Hartley keeping Jamie George on the bench in a front row where, with Joe Marler having retired from Test rugby and Mako Vunipola out injured, Alec Hepburn is at loosehead prop and Kyle Sinckler at tighthead.
England will return from a week-long training camp in Portugal later on Thursday ahead of the first of four November internationals, with world champions New Zealand, 2019 World Cup hosts Japan and Australia all visiting Twickenham on successive weekends.
“We’ve become very well organised in our set piece and have done a lot of good work in Portugal over the last week,” said Jones.
“We have put in a new defence system and our attack looks more organised than it was on the South Africa tour.”
15. Elliot Daly
14. Jack Nowell
13. Henry Slade
12. Ben Te’o
11. Jonny May
10. Owen Farrell (co-captain)
9. Ben Youngs
8. Mark Wilson
7. Tom Curry
6. Brad Shields
5. George Kruis
4. Maro Itoje
3. Kyle Sinckler
2. Dylan Hartley (co-captain)
1. Alec Hepburn
16. Jamie George
17. Ben Moon
18. Harry Williams
19. Charlie Ewels
20. Zach Mercer
21. Danny Care
22. George Ford
23. Manu Tuilagi.
© AFP 2018
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