England: Courtney Lawes named captain ahead of Owen Farrell for first Test against Australia

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Flanker Courtney Lawes will captain England against Australia in the opening game of the three-Test series in Perth on Saturday.

He has been selected to lead ahead of regular skipper Owen Farrell, who also starts and lines up alongside Marcus Smith in the 10-12 playmaking axis.

Experienced duo return

There are returns for Billy Vunipola and Danny Care, with the two experienced players taking their place at number eight and scrum-half respectively.

In the back three, Joe Cokanasiga joins Freddie Steward and Jack Nowell with Joe Marchant partnering Farrell in midfield.

Up front, there are few surprises but Jonny Hill makes a welcome return after missing the entirety of the Six Nations while Will Stuart is at tighthead due to Kyle Sinckler’s absence.

Meanwhile, Eddie Jones has selected a rather callow bench. Apart from experienced front-row duo of Luke Cowan-Dickie and Mako Vunipola, it is filled with youngsters with the uncapped Jack van Poortvliet, Guy Porter and Henry Arundell all potentially set to make their debuts this weekend.

“We have had very strong preparation for this game. We did some good recovery work in Fremantle and quality training in Perth,” England boss Jones said. “The squad has come together well since we met up last week.

“Picking the 23 out of this group of 36 was difficult. We feel we have a well-balanced team which is ready for this improving Australia team. We’ll take it to them from the start.”

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes (c), 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Jamie George, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Ollie Chessum, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Jack van Poortvliet, 22 Guy Porter, 23 Henry Arundell

Date: Saturday, July 2
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 18:00 local (11:00 BST, 10:00 GMT)
Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

READ MORE: Dave Rennie hands debuts to Dave Porecki and Caderyn Neville for England clash

 

The article England: Courtney Lawes named captain ahead of Owen Farrell for first Test against Australia appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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