Autumn Internationals 2018: England team to face Australia

Eddie Jones

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play Australia on Saturday in the last Test of the 2018 Quilter Internationals (KO 3pm live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event).

There are nine changes to the side that faced Japan last weekend with three positional switches.

Jamie George (Saracens) retains his place at hooker with props Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs) and Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins) returning to the starting line-up.

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) shifts from the backrow to the second row alongside Maro Itoje (Saracens). Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby) will start at openside flanker with Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) moving to no 8 and Brad Shields (Wasps) returning to blindside flanker.

Co-captain Owen Farrell (Saracens) is named at fly half with Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors) and Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) as the centre pairing.

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby) will play on the right wing with Jonny May (Leicester Tigers) named on the opposite side.

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) has been passed fit to play and is named as a finisher. The Tigers centre last played for England in 2016. Nathan Hughes (Wasps) is also included on the bench following the conclusion of his suspension.

Co-captain Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) is in line to make a record 56th international appearance at Twickenham this weekend. He is currently level with Jason Leonard on 55 appearances at the home of England Rugby.

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.

“Australia, we know are a traditional rival and we enjoy the occasion of playing them at Twickenham. The spirit of the fans has been outstanding. I think the atmosphere during these Quilter Internationals has been the best atmosphere I’ve certainly experienced and we encourage the fans to be at their robust best at the weekend.”

England have won their last five games against Australia and four of the last five at Twickenham against the Wallabies.

England starting XV
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 24 caps)
14 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 16 caps)
12 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors, 15 caps)
11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 39 caps)
10 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 64 caps) co-captain
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 79 caps)

1 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps)
2 Jamie George (Saracens, 31 caps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 16 caps)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 25 caps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 67 caps)
6 Brad Shields (Wasps, 4 caps)
7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 8 caps)
8 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 7 caps)

16 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 96 caps) co-captain
17 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)
18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)
19 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 17 caps)
21 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 32 caps)
22 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 50 caps)
23 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 26 caps)

21 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals 2018: England team to face Australia

  1. Thankfully Piers Francis was only drafted in to hold tackle bags. I’m not sure my nerves would have taken it seeing him in the squad for Saturday.

      1. I reckon it would be May (didn’t he used to play there a fair bit for Gloucs?)- with Manu or Slade on the wing.

    1. Knowing Eddie , Harry Williams!
      No real surprises in this line up. I hope Manu makes an appearance and stays injury free. The 6N squad will be very interesting.

  2. Without Nowell and Watson, the cover is somewhat limited but I suspect the make up of the bench is more about getting Tuilagi into the game that providing specific cover.

    Assuming fitness (which is a huge assumption) I wouldn’t expect to see Te’o and Tuilagi in the same 23 for WC games.

    May could also cover at 15, but given that the replacements are in effect two centres (Farrell to 12 as Ford comes on), then it must be Slade who would drop back. Risky against the top teams but Slade is a clever player and would do ok.

  3. There is one real surprise selection: George ahead of Hartley.
    As far as I can recall, this is the first time that has happened for a game against one of the major nations.
    Sign that George has edged ahead in the hooker battle?
    Other then that its good to see Underhill recalled, a start for Cokanasiga and Tuilagi at least set to be involved from the bench. Here’s hoping he does actually get on and make a contribution.

    1. Stiil yet to be convinced by JG at this level. It could be that Ed feels the same way and this may be his last chance saloon.

  4. I quite like this side but echo the sentiments about cover at fullback and also the feeling this is the last chance saloon for Jamie George.

    As for Nathan Hughes i’m not impressed, for me in an England shirt he’s a low rent Billy Vunipola, as he doesn’t seem to make the yards and his higher body position going into contact makes him easier to tackle.

    1. I suppose we must just accept Jones’s selections are sometimes bizarre but I can’t see Wilson as an 8 but assume he plays him there to fit in Shields who is world class according to Jones.A better arrangement would be Wilson at 6 and Morgan at 8 in my book.As numerous others have said the Daly 15 experiment hasn’t worked.We should win this game but can we win it well is the question.

  5. Aussie team in. Looks like a lot of depletions due to injury/illness
    1. Scott Sio (54 Tests)
    2. Tolu Latu (11 Tests)
    3. Sekope Kepu (102 Tests)
    4. Izack Rodda (16 Tests)
    5. Adam Coleman (30 Tests)
    6. Jack Dempsey (9 Tests)
    7. Michael Hooper (c) (90 Tests)
    8. David Pocock (77 Tests)
    9. Will Genia (99 Tests)
    10. Matt To’omua (41 Tests)
    11. Jack Maddocks (6 Tests)
    12. Bernard Foley (67 Tests)
    13. Samu Kerevi (24 Tests)
    14. Dane Haylett-Petty (30 Tests)
    15. Israel Folau (72 Tests)

    16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (88 Tests)
    17. Jermaine Ainsley (2 Tests)
    18. Allan Alaalatoa (30 Tests)
    19. Rob Simmons (93 Tests)
    20. Ned Hanigan (19 Tests)
    21. Pete Samu (8 Tests)
    22. Nick Phipps (70 Tests)
    23. Sefa Naivalu (9 Tests)

  6. I know you can never write the Aussies off but Foley at 12 is a brave call.
    Te’o has got to be liking the thought of running at him…

    1. If Teo is fit enough to do any running!
      Anyone else think the Wallabies will target Cokanasiga with the high ball?

      1. Leon. Might swap them around, particularly in defence, but agree that they’d likely better off starting swapped around.

  7. Anyone else remember that this time before the last worldcup Morgan was Motm?! (I think!)
    I would have liked to see him at 8 and Wilson at 6 …


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