Courtney Lawes named as England captain for Australia clash ahead of Owen Farrell

Courtney Lawes has been named as England captain (Glyn Kirk/PA) (PA Archive)
Courtney Lawes has been named as England captain (Glyn Kirk/PA) (PA Archive)

Courtney Lawes will lead England into Saturday’s first Test against Australia after retaining the captaincy despite Owen Farrell’s return at inside centre.

For the first time since 2018, Farrell has been overlooked as skipper with Eddie Jones opting for Lawes after the Northampton flanker impressed in the role while deputising in the autumn and Six Nations.

The Saracens playmaker has made a full recovery from the ankle injuries that have disrupted his season and features in the midfield, lining up between fly-half Marcus Smith and outside centre Joe Marchant.

Joe Cokanasiga provides tackle-busting power on the left wing in his first Test for a year having overcome a series of setbacks, including injury and Covid.

Danny Care completes his stunning international comeback by starting at scrum-half with Harry Randall unable to even win a spot on the bench, where the uncapped Jack van Poortvliet provides cover.

London Irish’s teenage sensation Henry Arundell could make his debut as a replacement at Optus Stadium as his stellar first season as a professional continues its upwards trajectory.

Joining van Poortvliet among the substitutes is his Leicester team-mate Leicester, who is the third uncapped player named in the 23.

Charlie Ewels has become the first player to be ruled out of the tour after suffering a knee injury in training on Wednesday and his place is being taken by Bristol’s Sam Jeffries.