Autumn Internationals 2018: England team to play New Zealand

Eddie Jones

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his matchday squad to play New Zealand in their second Quilter International Test at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday (KO 3pm, live on Sky Sports HD).

Jones makes three changes to the starting XV that beat South Africa 12-11 last weekend.

Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), who scored a try when England last beat New Zealand in 2012, will start on the right wing.

Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs) is named as loose-head prop while Sam Underhill comes in at open-side flanker following an ankle injury to Tom Curry (Sale Sharks).

There are three changes to the bench with Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) and Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) all named as finishers.

Owen Farrell (Saracens), who will co-captain the team alongside Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), is one point short of reaching 700 points for England.

Eddie Jones said: “The expectation for Saturday is no different to any other Test match. We want to be at our best, better than we were in the previous Test match and we want to play with pride and passion which ignites the fan.

It’s been a good week, the players have recovered well, trained well on Tuesday, exceptionally well on Wednesday and we look forward to the challenge of taking on New Zealand on Saturday.

“The crowd last week was wonderful, we had great support and enthusiasm for the game and they saw a great Test match and I’m sure on Saturday they will see another.”

England starting XV
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 22 caps)
14 Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks, 40 caps)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)
12 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors, 14 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 38 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 62 caps) co-captain
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 78 caps)

1 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 94 caps) co-captain
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 14 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 23 caps)
5 George Kruis (Saracens, 26 caps)
6 Brad Shields (Wasps, 3 caps)
7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 6 caps)
8 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 5 caps)

16 Jamie George (Saracens, 29 caps)
17 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)
19 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 7 caps)
20 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 65 caps)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins, 82 caps)
22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 48 caps)
23 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 27 caps)

17 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals 2018: England team to play New Zealand

  1. Good move starting Moon. I also think given Nowell’s struggles with the pace of Ioane on the Lions tour the change makes sense. Sad no Tuilagi for the fear-factor but it makes more sense having a back three player on the bench and in some ways good he’s not being rushed back.

    Shame Mercer is dropped. Lawes covering 6 with Wilson able to step into 7 and Shields into 8

  2. No surprises here. Feel a little for Nowell to be benched as I thought he had a reasonable game last week. Not much service or ball in hand but did well enough when he did. Also he is a pest in defence and doesn’t give up. I suppose EJ sees Ashton as someone to give the ABs a little more to think about. Without stating the obvious we simply cannot afford to start like we did last week….if we do it will be all over before half time.

    No Manu – assuming his injury is a little more than the stated ‘tweak’ in the press this week?

  3. Ashton Daly and May as back 3 makes us very insecure defensively! If we don’t front up we could concede a lot of tries. Why 2 locks on the bench and no Mercer? That’s another dangerous strategy…

    1. Actually the more I think about these choices the more I think they are wrong! Especially as Underhill is always going off injured leaving us with 3 locks on the pitch! Mercer played very well when he came on and it’s not as if we are trying to get Launchbury on the pitch!! That back 3 could be all over the place with the ABs running at them with turnover ball!

      1. Ewels has played back-row for Bath on a few occasions but I’m not sure about this lock stack either. Against SA I would have understood – a need to match them physically – but against a relentless NZ attack, for phase after phase, I would rather the a more agile player.

    2. Agreed Bolter. Why EJ keeps playing the pauper is beyond me. If he only had a hundred full time pros to pick from then that would be different but he’s got hundreds.
      No proper centre cover on the bench and I’m guessing either Itoje or Lawes would be pressed into service as an emergency 6 if needed. Insane!

    1. Its a very odd call and completely unbalances the bench. Mercer’s additional pace and ability to beat defenders could be a considerable asset in the 2nd half of the game. Instead we will have an out of position lock (likely Itoje) going into the final quarter.
      Moon for Hepburn is the right call. Ashton for Nowell is a close one. I’d have stuck with Nowell but Ashton did look very lively when he came on last week.

  4. I would have stuck with Mercer – but i’m assuming Eddie J is just sticking to his guns of trying to outmuscle people up front and so Moon makes the scrum more solid first 60 mins and Lawes and Ewels to add more ballast off the bench. Nowell has a lot of qualities, out and out pace isn’t one of them. Last week every time Youngs kicked long down the left, May caused trouble. When he kicked down the right Nowell was nowhere near it – which is part his lack of top end pace and part poor kicking. He was never going to drop youngs (Care STILL takes 2 steps before passing every time and his overall flaws often get overlooked for his occasional moments of spectacular or brilliance). Still fancy the ABs to win, would like to see Teo and Slade do something this week – either a big defensive hit or a nice attacking move – as saw neither last week. Daly hopefully won’t miss any overlaps this week – i think May and Ashton will have been in his ear on the video replays!

    1. Huge fan of Nowell but agree with you on this. He is industrious and offers a lot but he lacks the top end speed that makes May, and Ashton, so dangerous. Youngs kicking was also poor in the first half which didnt help.

      1. @ 30 something hasn’t Ashton lost a yard of pace? If Young’s gets his radar right, then this could help solve the perceived lack of pace @ wing issue. Mind you, kicking it away @ all could could also create an issue for England if Barrett, Ioane, Smith or Mckenzie retrieves it.

        1. TBH I’m not sure Don, I imagine Ashton is still quicker than Nowell. Youngs could also help by getting his distance right.
          Too often last week his kicks went long but England were lucky to escape relatively unscathed from the SA counter. As you have alluded to, the ABs wont let England off so lightly. Ashton and May are both good on the kick chase and a player running onto the ball should have the upper hand over a player standing stationary under it. Ben Smith always seems to be positioned perfectly for it though -_-

          1. Jake, the kick chase thing should be sorted before hand. If Nowell wasn’t quite fast enough out of the blocks, then Youngs had to kick shorter & higher. As JN won’t be on potentially until late, it may not matter much as the game may already be settled by then. The AB receivers don’t stand statically when seeking to catch bombs. They run forward & leap up to field the ball in the air .

  5. Ashton is at his most dangerous when those around him are in tune with his ability to track a move. If everyone is singing from different hymn sheets his finishing ability will be wasted. Slade needs a big game. He has to be aware of what’s going on around him and step up defensively. i still think Daly would be a better bet.

  6. The centre cover is already on the field. As has been mooted by a few before, Daly could slot in here. Ashton could then move to f/ back, with Nowell coming on for the former as wing replacement.

  7. Yes, but i always like to factor in the possibility of injuries Don. If daly gets crocked who goes to F/B and who covers centre off the bench?
    It all smacks of muddled selections to my mind and it’s really not necessary.

    1. If Daly gets injured, Ashton has been playing fullback in France so I’d imagine he’d slot in there with Ford coming on at fly-half, Farrell at 12 and Te’o over to 13 + Nowell for the wing
      Both Nowell and Ashton are capable of playing fullback and Nowell can play 13 as well


Comments are closed.