Owen Farrell to start at outhalf for England against Springboks
Saracens star has only started three international games at 10 since 2015 World Cup
Owen Farrell will take the number 10 jersey when England play the Springboks on Saturday. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty
Owen Farrell will start at fly-half in a reshuffled England line-up to face South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday. There are seven changes in addition to Farrell’s positional switch from inside centre from England’s last outing against the Springboks in Cape Town in June.
It is only the third time Farrell has been handed the England number 10 jersey since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with George Ford dropping to the bench. Eddie Jones has also recalled the fit-again Ben Te’o in midfield alongside Henry Slade, despite the fact the Worcester centre has played just 28 minutes of rugby since May.
Manu Tuilagi has to be content with a place among the replacements but is set to feature in a Test for the first time since 2016. There is no place in the 23, however, for Chris Ashton who has lost out to Jack Nowell on the wing.
Up front there are also starting berths for Newcastle’s Mark Wilson and Wasps’ Brad Shields in a back-row containing a total of 10 caps. Alec Hepburn and Kyle Sinckler start in the front-row with two uncapped players, Exeter’s Ben Moon and Bath’s Zach Mercer, poised for debuts off the bench.
England, missing the injured Vunipola brothers, Chris Robshaw, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes and the retired Joe Marler among others, have won one of their last six Tests and were beaten 2-1 by the Springboks in their summer series.
England: Daly (Wasps); Nowell (Exeter), Slade (Exeter), Te’o (Worcester), May (Leicester); Farrell (Saracens co-capt), Youngs (Leicester); Hepburn (Exeter), Hartley (Northampton, co-capt), Sinckler (Harlequins), Itoje (Saracens), Kruis (Saracens), B Shields (Wasps), T Curry (Sale), Wilson (Newcastle). Replacements: George (Saracens), Moon (Exeter), Williams (Exeter), Ewels (Bath), Z Mercer (Bath), Care (Harlequins), Ford (Leicester), Tuilagi (Leicester).