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England name team with eight changes, including a new cap at lock

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Eddie Jones has named an England team to host Argentina on Sunday that shows eight changes – five in the pack – from the XV that started the July 16 series-clinching win over Australia in Sydney. As has been typical of Jones in recent years, the selection picture is always fluid and after coming into the Autumn Nations Series preparation camp with injured pair Jamie George and Courtney Lawes missing along with the axed veteran Danny Care, the team that would run out against the Pumas at Twickenham was always set to look very different.

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So it has now been proven. With Lawes absent, Owen Farrell will captain the side from inside centre where he partners the fit-again Manu Tuilagi, who is in for Guy Porter. Marcus Smith is at fly-half with Ben Youngs taking over at scrum-half from Care. Vice-captain Jack Nowell is on the right wing, Joe Cokanasiga is on the left wing for Tommy Freeman and Freddie Steward is at full-back.

There is an England debut for Alex Coles at lock in place of Ollie Chessum, with Jonny Hill alongside him. Vice-captain Ellis Genge makes up the front row alongside Kyle Sinckler, who starts for Will Stuart, and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, who replaces the injured George. Maro Itoje – for Lawes – and Tom Curry – for Lewis Ludlam – are named as flankers and Billy Vunipola is No8.

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With Sydney sub Nick Isiekwe out injured, David Ribbans is also in line to make his England debut after being named on the replacements bench where there is a six/two forwards/backs split compared to the five-three cover they had for their last outing.

As Cowan-Dickie is now in the starting team, Jack Singleton could make his first England appearance since 2019 as the covering hooker. Mako Vunipola, Joe Heyes, Jack Willis, Jack van Poortvliet are the four repeat picks from the Sydney bench, with Sam Simmonds included as the extra forward with utility back Will Joseph absent. Henry Slade completes the 23 in place of Henry Arundell.

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“It’s been a really good week of preparation and I have been very pleased with the squad’s attitude,” said Jones. “They have shown a real work ethic and a determination to improve. 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 against a very good Argentina side. It has been a tough time for rugby lately and we hope these autumn games show just what a special game it is.”

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England (vs Argentina, Sunday)
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 13 caps)
14. Jack Nowell (VC) (Exeter Chiefs, 42 caps)
13. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 46 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 97 caps)
11. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 13 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 117 caps)
1. Ellis Genge (VC) (Bristol Bears, 39 caps)
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 37 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 52 caps)
4. Alex Coles (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
5. Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 15 caps)
6. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 58 caps)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 41 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 64 caps)

Replacements:
16. Jack Singleton (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)
17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 70 caps)
18. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
19. David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 14 caps)
21. Jack Willis (unattached, 4 caps)
22. Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)
23. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 48 caps)

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