Nov 10, 2016
Four Saracens included in England side to face the Springboks
Four Saracens have been named in England’s team to face South Africa for the opening match of the Old Mutual Wealth Series at Twickenham Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm, live on Sky Sports 1).
Mako Vunipola starts at loosehead prop and is joined by his brother Billy Vunipola in the England pack. Owen Farrell continues to slot in at inside centre and hooker Jamie George is named on the replacements for Eddie Jones’ side.
Jones has named an experienced starting 15 with England captain Dylan Hartley leading out a side with a total of 596 international caps between them as they aim to defeat the Springboks for the first time since 2006.
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints) returns to the England team at flanker with Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) also back on the left-wing following a lengthy injury lay-off. Elliot Daly (Wasps) makes his first start at outside-centre having come off the bench to earn his previous five caps.
Debutants Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) and Nathan Hughes (Wasps) are named as replacements as is uncapped centre Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors). There are also returns for Joe Marler (Harlequins) and Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby).
Elsewhere second-row Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) will earn his 50th England cap on Saturday having made his debut against Australia at Twickenham in 2009.
“We’ve picked a matchday 23 with a blend of experience and youth,” said Jones.
“We’ve trained well this week and I am pleased with how the players have come together and responded to some of the things we’ve asked them to do. The boys are focussed and ready to go.
“We’re looking forward to the game. It’s a fantastic opportunity to show how much depth we have in English rugby. With a few influential players not available for selection this is a great opportunity for some of the new faces to put both feet forward and we’re backing them to do the job for us.
“Test matches are always about the contest up front and South Africa pride themselves in the set piece but we’ll be ready for the challenge.
“We can’t wait to get back to Twickenham and make this a game to remember. It’s a very special stadium and we hope the crowd really gets behind us on Saturday. We want to make Twickenham an intimidating place for opposition teams to play rugby and the fans can contribute to that.
“We congratulate Courtney Lawes on his 50-cap milestone – an excellent achievement. I’m also pleased to see a number of returning players get their chance on Saturday, most notably Jonny May after his long injury rehabilitation and Joe Marler whose attitude and application to training these last two weeks has been first-class.”
England match-day 23 for the Old Mutual Wealth Series game against South Africa
15 Mike Brown (vice captain, Harlequins, 52 caps)
14 Marland Yarde (Harlequins, 9 caps)
13 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 5 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (vice captain, Saracens, 43 caps)
11 Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 19 caps)
10 George Ford (Bath Rugby, 26 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 61 caps)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 35 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (captain, Northampton Saints, 75 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 65 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 35 caps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 49 caps)
6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 51 caps)
7 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 42 caps)
8 Billy Vunipola (vice captain, Saracens, 29 caps)
16 Jamie George (Saracens, 8 caps)
17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 42 caps)
18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, uncapped)
19 Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby, 23 caps)
20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, uncapped)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins, 62 caps)
22 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)
23 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)
Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks) and Tommy Taylor (Wasps) are included in the squad as travelling reserves.