Eddie Jones drops vice-captains Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell to bench for South Africa

Eddie Jones drops vice-captains Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell to bench for South Africa - GETTY IMAGES
Eddie Jones drops vice-captains Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell to bench for South Africa - GETTY IMAGES

12:38 PM

Vunipola and George return for England

Eddie Jones, the England head coach, has stressed that rugby must do more to look after referees, while joking that South Africa's banned director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, might turn up to Twickenham in "a laundry box".

Erasmus was given a two-match ban from all matchday activities last week by World Rugby following his latest comments criticising the performance of referees.

Asked how the absence of Erasmus would affect the Springboks, Jones responded: "He might come in a laundry box. That's been done before hasn't it? I'm sure he will get in there somehow."

Taking on a more serious stance, Jones would not comment on the ban given to Erasmus but stressed the importance of protecting officials.

"The only thing I'd say is that we have to respect the referees and look after the referees. They're an important part of our game. What's happened, happened," Jones said.

Manu Tuilagi will win his 50th cap for England, reaching his half century 11 years after making his Test debut in a career full of highlights but blighted by injury.

Tuilagi has featured in all four of England's Tests this autumn, with Jones highlighting that the Sale centre has not missed any training either.

"It's been a different time for [Tuilagi]. The pleasing thing for us is that for three weeks he's been involved in every training session. Yesterday we did quite a tough session and he got through everything. We're really pleased about his progress."

England have made four changes to their starting XV following the draw with New Zealand last Saturday, with Tommy Freeman, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Alex Coles coming into the side.

Freeman makes his first appearance of the autumn, having started in Australia this summer before suffering a foot injury at the beginning of October. Replacing vice-captain Jack Nowell on the right wing, Jones noted that Freeman would add speed to England's attack.

"We were pleased with Jack [Nowell] last weekend but we feel that Tommy Freeman is coming into some form. He's got good pace and he will add something to the team."

The changes to England's pack see Coles fulfil the third lineout jumper role, which Jones hinted England would revert to after facing the All Blacks, while Jones also spoke positively about the strength England will bring off the bench.

"We feel Mako will be good starting and you look at who can potentially come on for us in the second half. Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Will Stuart – that's a powerful front row."

Jack van Poortvliet has retained his role as the starting scrum-half despite a difficult outing against the All Blacks, with Jones adding that he never considered dropping the Leicester No 9 to the bench.

"Not at all. That was a fantastic game for a young player, it was a real learning game and he's learned a lot from that game and will take it into this week."

While the England head coach would probably prefer for his side to not be facing a 19-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining again, Jones did note how special the atmosphere had been at Twickenham in those closing stages last week as England scored three tries in a dramatic late comeback.

"The response of the fans in the last 10 minutes of the game last week was fantastic, I don't think I've ever experienced an atmosphere like that. We want to do that again and give them a great experience."

11:42 AM

Eddie's live press conference

On team selection...

Change in positions. We name a squad of 23. As far as I'm concerned it's a squad of 23. There's a difference in starting and finishing, depending on how we feel the game is going to go.

On Manu Tuilagi...

Tommy is coming in in good form and he has good pace.

[It has been] a difficult time for him. He's now had three weeks where's he's trained every day for us. Really pleased with his progress.

On Jack van Poortvliet and hooker switch...

He has responded really well. He's learnt a lot. Not tempted to take him out of the firing line.

Again [at hooker it is just a] change of roles, one starts one finishes. It's just a change of role.

On Rassie Erasmus not being there on Saturday...

He might come in a laundry box! I'm sure he'll get in there somewhere mate. The only thing I'll say is that we have to respect and look after referees. They're an important part of our game.

On South Africa...

They're world champions for a reason.

It's just another game. It's  an important game. We want to light up Twickenham. I've never experienced an atmosphere like the last 10 mins last week. We want to do that again.

On Alex Coles...

Importance of the line-out. That six role changes from week to week, in terms of what we need. And this week we need a third genuine jumper. Alex Coles will be playing against some of the best players in the world - like Etzebeth. He wasn't in our immediate picture in the autumn but now he's in the reckoning for a World Cup spot.

Why Mako Vunipola and not Ellis Genge to start this week specifically?

Gut feeling.

11:24 AM


Let us know in the comments! It's certainly bold...

We'll be hearing from Eddie shortly, so stay tuned here to hear his explanation.

11:15 AM


Eddie Jones has dropped both of his vice-captains - Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell - to the bench to face South Africa this Saturday.

Twenty-one-year-old Tommy Freeman starts on the right wing in place of Nowell, while Mako Vunipola comes in for Genge at loosehead.

Alex Coles returns to the starting XV, taking the place of Sam Simmonds at blindside, with a view to mitigate against South Africa's well stocked line-out.

Manu Tuilagi will win his 50th captain at outside centre, as he partners Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith once again in the English midfield. Jack van Poortvliet retains his place at scrum-half, too.

England starting XV: F Steward; T Freeman, M Tuilagi, O Farrell, J May; M Smith, J van Poortvliet; M Vunipola, J George, K Sinckler, M Itoje, J Hill, A Coles, T Curry, B Vunipola.
Replacements: L Cowan-Dickie, E Genge, W Stuart, D Ribbans, S Simmonds, B Youngs, H Slade, J Nowell.

11:01 AM

South Africa's team

The Springboks have been forced into a wholesale reshuffle because the Test falls outside of World Rugby’s designated international window, meaning that players based in England and France, such as Cheslin Kolbe, have returned to their clubs.

In one of six personnel changes to the starting line-up that began the 63-21 win over Italy in Genoa, Evan Roos of the Stormers starts at the base of the scrum, earning a third cap. André Esterhuizen is back with Harlequins, so Damian de Allende is partnered by Jesse Kriel in the centres. While there are five forwards, rather than six, on the South Africa bench, Marco van Staden and Kwagga Smith ensure that they have plenty of firepower in reserve.

“As with all competitions we can only select a limited number of players, so we have had to be creative with balancing building player combinations and giving the young players a chance to show us what they can do at top Test level and this game gives us a golden opportunity to do so,” said Jacques Nienaber, the South Africa head coach.

“It doesn’t get bigger than playing against England at a packed Twickenham in the last Test of the season for a player, and one can sense the excitement among the players about this occasion.”

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Damian Willemse, Faf de Klerk; Evan Roos, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Marvin Orie, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche. 
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Jaden Hendrikse, Manie Libbok, Canan Moodie.

10:49 AM

The big question

Where will Henry Slade play?

Rumour and conjecture has been abound. Will he start this week after his excellent cameo against New Zealand? If so, where? Might he end up at full-back with Steward shifting to wing? There is a chance, too, that he starts at 13 with Manu Tuilagi dropping to the bench?

It is not beyond the realms of possibility, too, that Eddie could go Farrell at 10, Slade at 12 and Tuilagi at 13.

10:40 AM

Eddie's 26-player squad

FORWARDS Alex Coles (Northampton Saints, 2 caps), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 40 caps), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 44 caps), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 42 caps), Jamie George (Saracens, 71 caps), Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 18 caps), Maro Itoje (Saracens, 61 caps), David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 2 caps), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 17 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 55 caps), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 24 caps,) Hugh Tizard (Saracens, uncapped), Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 67 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 73 caps).

BACKS Owen Farrell (Saracens, 100 caps), Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 2 caps), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 71 caps), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 44 caps), Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 4 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 51 caps), Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 16 caps), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 16 caps), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 49 caps), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 120 caps).

10:24 AM

Good morning

Welcome to our live coverage of England's squad announcement for their final autumn international, against the world champion Springboks on Saturday.

Eddie Jones' side fought back for a thrilling draw against the All Blacks last weekend, but two-try hero Will Stuart has admitted they will need to start much quicker against South Africa.

"Credit to [New Zealand], they were they were firing on all cylinders in the first half and we were nowhere near where it needs to be," said Stuart.

"It was my first time playing them and that was the whole chat during the week – they're not the same team as the All Blacks of 10 years ago.

"There was an opportunity to start imposing ourselves on them, which we didn't do in the first half but as the game went on, we got a bit of momentum. We bumped up the physicality way more in the forwards.

"At the start of the second half we fired a few shots and then the momentum swings. The one thing we take out of it is the fightback which was massively positive. Everyone's happy with that, but we know there is so much more that we have to do."

South Africa have made six changes for the game at Twickenham, in part forced as the match is being played outside the international window and several players have rejoined their clubs.

Eben Etzebeth returns to the starting XV following last weekend’s 63-21 thumping of Italy to partner his old school team-mate Marvin Orie at lock, while Jese Kriel is back at outside centre alongside Damian de Allende.

Makazole Mapimpi has been selected in the place of Cheslin Kolbe, who is not available, with the rest of the back three featuring fellow wing Kurt-Lee Arendse and Willie le Roux at full-back. Fly-half Damian Willemse and scrum-half Faf de Klerk continue their budding partnership.

Evan Roos will start at No 8 with Jasper Wiese also out of the mix, and he will pack down at the back of the scrum with Franco Mostert and captain Siya Kolisi.

The front row contains props Frans Malherbe and Ox Nche either side of hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

England's team will be announced at 11.15am.