LONDON (NWN) – Courtney Laws will captain England for the second time in their rugby Test against South Africa, the first meeting of nations since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
Laws replaces Owen Farrell, who suffered an ankle injury in England’s 32–15 win over Australia last weekend, and will try to give the team a clean sweep in the autumn Test after beating Tonga 69–3.
England will go into a match against Australia on Saturday against a fearful pack of South Africa with another absent hooker Jamie George after suffering a knee injury.
Prop Joe Marler only left self-isolation on Friday after his positive test for the coronavirus and therefore confined to a bench role, with England coach Eddie Jones starting Bevan Road for his second cap – and Jamie Blamire – who has made only three starts for his club, Newcastle.
Joe Merchant, an outside centre, has been picked ahead of specialist wingers Adam Radwan and Max Malins, who are in free-scoring form for the Saracens.
Merchant was dropped from the original squad for the autumn, but a campaign-ending knee injury sustained by Anthony Watson offered him a respite.
Manu Tuilagi fell out of position on the wing against Australia, but returned to the midfield with Henry Slade following Farrell’s return.
South Africa named their squad on Tuesday and it included three changes, with flyhalf Hendre Pollard, scrumhaft Kobus Reinach and Locke Laude de Jagger all returning.
The Springboks are looking for their first win over England at Twickenham since 2014.
England: Freddie Steward, Joe Merchant, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Johnny May, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Courtney Lodge (c), Johnny Hill, Maro Etoje, Kyle Sinkler, Jamie Blamire, Bevan Rode. Reserves: Nick Dolly, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewells, Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds, Rafi Quirke, Max Malins.
South Africa: Willie Le Roux, Jesse Creel, Lukhanyo M, Damien de Allende, Makazol Mpimpi, Hendre Pollard, Kobus Renach; Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Sia Colisi (c), Lude de Jagger, Eben Atzebeth, Trevor Nykane, Bongi Mbonnambi, Aux Nache. Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitschoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostart, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantzi, Elton Jantzi, Frans Stein.
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