Owen Farrell captains England in Argentina clash as Alex Coles handed Test debut at lock

Back in charge: Owen Farrell will captain England against Argentina at Twickenham on Sunday  (Getty Images)
Back in charge: Owen Farrell will captain England against Argentina at Twickenham on Sunday (Getty Images)

Owen Farrell will captain England in Sunday’s opening autumn Test against Argentina at Twickenham.

The Saracens playmaker has passed all his return-to-play protocols after a concussion issue just in time to start at inside centre against the Pumas.

Farrell will lead England for the first time since the 2021 autumn clash with Australia. The 31-year-old has regained the captaincy in the wake of Courtney Lawes’ absence, also due to concussion concerns.

Maro Itoje will start at blindside flanker, slotting into Lawes’ back-row enforcer role, with Northampton’s Alex Coles making his Test debut at lock.

Marcus Smith will pilot the backline from fly-half, with Manu Tuilagi stepping in at outside centre. Bristol prop Ellis Genge and Exeter wing Jack Nowell have been named as vice-captains by head coach Eddie Jones.

Alex Coles will make his England Test debut at lock, with Maro Itoje on the blindside (Getty Images)
Alex Coles will make his England Test debut at lock, with Maro Itoje on the blindside (Getty Images)

“It’s been a really good week of preparation and I’ve been very pleased with the squad’s attitude,” said England boss Jones. “They’ve shown real work ethic and a determination to improve and our leaders, Owen, Ellis and Jack have really lifted the team.

“We’re looking forward to a great game of rugby at a full Twickenham Stadium against a very good Argentina side. It’s been a tough time for rugby lately and we hope that these autumn games show just what a special game it is.”