In Brief

England vs. South Africa team news: Farrell starts at fly-half, Ashton on bench

Head coach Eddie Jones names side to face the Springboks at Twickenham

England vs. South Africa

  • What: rugby union autumn international 
  • When: Saturday 3 November 
  • Where: Twickenham Stadium, London 
  • Start time: 3pm (UK time)
  • TV channel: live on Sky Sports Action 

England head coach Eddie Jones has picked Owen Farrell at fly-half for the Twickenham Test match against South Africa on Saturday.

In a positional switch from inside centre Farrell starts at No.10 while his fellow co-captain Dylan Hartley returns to the pack. Ben Te’o also gets a start in midfield alongside Henry Slade.

Speaking to media Jones said: “We’ve become very well organised in our set piece and have done a lot of good work in Portugal over the last week.

“We have put in a new defence system and our attack looks more organised than it was on the South Africa tour.

“Against South Africa you have got the physical battle up front and then you have to be tactically smart in how you attack against them. We need to find ways to gain momentum, then once we find momentum, convert that to points.”

Meanwhile, South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has named Duane Vermeulen and Warren Whiteley in the team to face England. The duo will form a new-look loose forward combination alongside skipper Siya Kolisi.

Erasmus expects a tough encounter against England, who the Springboks beat 2-1 in the summer series. He said: “England will be desperate to win this one at Twickenham and they will select a formidable side.

“This match will be a huge tactical affair with much of the outcome depending on how you handle the set phases and kicking game.”

England team update

On Thursday Manu Tuilagi was originally named on the bench by Jones for the clash against the Springboks. However, the Leicester centre has suffered a “low-grade groin strain”, The Times reports, and is ruled out of the Twickenham clash.

Tuilagi, who has only played 16 minutes of Test rugby in the past four years, is expected to return to training early next week and should be available for the 10 November clash against the All Blacks.

Scrum coach Neal Hatley told Sky Sports: “Manu’s disappointed. He desperately wanted to play for England again. It’s just a small strain and he’ll back training with us on Sunday. He’d put a good run in with his club, but he’s buoyed by the fact that he’ll be back in to prepare for New Zealand next weekend.”

Sale Sharks winger Chris Ashton replaces Tuilagi on the bench. He will make his first appearance for England since 2014 should he come on against the Boks.

Jonny May and Jack Nowell are selected on the wings for Saturday’s match and Ashton will provide back-up for the duo.

England team 
  • Starting XV: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (co-captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Dylan Hartley (co-captain), 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 6 Brad Shields, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Mark Wilson
  • Finishers: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Danny Care, 22 George Ford, 23 Chris Ashton
South Africa team
  • Starting XV: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11  Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff 
  • Finishers: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Lood de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 André Esterhuizen

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