England head coach Eddie Jones has dropped co-captain Dylan Hartley from the starting XV to play Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
The decision by Jones offers Jamie George the chance to press home his claim for the starting berth at hooker after long playing as an impact replacement for England.
Co-captain Owen Farrell will lead the side in their final Test this autumn against the Wallabies, with Hartley still retaining his leadership role albeit from the replacements’ bench.
Manu Tuilagi has won his race to be fit for the encounter after Jones described the likelihood of the centre being available for selection as ‘very doubtful’ due to a groin problem. The Leicester Tigers back will take his place on the bench as England go with a midfield partnership of Ben Te’o and Henry Slade.
The team has not been immune to injury creeping in late, however, as wing Jack Nowell has been ruled out with a hamstring issue picked up in training.
This allows Bath’s Joe Cokanasiga to continue on the wing after coming off a debut against Japan that saw him bag a try.
The selection of the backline shows Jones’ intent on matching physicality with physicality with Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika making rampaging centre Semu Kerevi the focal point of his team’s attacks.
After the 35-15 victory over Japan saw a number of first-choice players rested, Sam Underhill, Ben Youngs and Jonny May come back into the fold as England seek to extend their five-match winning streak over their rivals.
On the team announcement, Eddie 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.”
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (co-capt), 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ben Moon, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Brad Shields, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Mark Wilson
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley (co-capt), 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 George Ford, 23 Manu Tuilagi
Comments are closed on this article.