England rugby team announcement for Japan match

George Ford will captain a much-changed England team against Japan on Saturday at Twickenham.

Eddie Jones’ pledge to field his “strongest available” side has shown to be a bluff as he makes 11 alterations to the side which so nearly beat New Zealand – and an additional two positional switches.

Co-captains Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell are dropped to the bench, along with Sam Underhill, England’s hero against the All Blacks.

Joe Cokanasiga, 21 today, is given his debut on the right wing, with Chris Ashton switched to the left. Jack Nowell and Alex Lozowski form a new-look midfield, while there is a completely changed front row in Alec Hepburn, Jamie George and Harry Williams.

In the back row Zach Mercer gets his full debut at no.8, having impressed off the bench against South Africa.

Fly-half Ford leads the side on his 50th England appearance and Jones said: “It’s a wonderful moment for him and his family. Fifty caps and captaining the side is a great honour. Every game he plays for England he gives his absolute best.”

The Australian added: “Japan is an important game for us as we want to get back to winning ways. We are expecting plenty of energy, aggression and fast ball movement. They will be full of surprises, quick taps, lineouts and plays. They are going to have a bag of magic.”

Japan have won 11 of their last 17 matches in Europe, drawing one and losing five. In their last game on the continent they held France to a 23-23 draw.

“A number of players have changed their roles going from finishers to starters and starters to finishers,” Jones added. “That is the essential change to the squad.

“It is exciting to be able to give starting opportunities to Zach Mercer and Joe Cokanasiga and young Ted Hill on the bench."

England have played Japan only once before, beating the Brave Blossoms 60-7 during the 1987 World Cup.

England starting XV

15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 23 caps)

14 Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

13 Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 28 caps)

12 Alex Lozowski (Saracens, 4 caps)

11 Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks, 41 caps)

10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 49 caps) captain

9 Danny Care (Harlequins, 83 caps)

1 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs, 4 caps)

2 Jamie George (Saracens, 30 caps)

3 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 13 caps)

4 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 8 caps)

5 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 24 caps) vice-captain

6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 66 caps)

7 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 6 caps)

8 Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)


16 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 95 caps)

17 Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs, 2 caps)

18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 15 caps)

19 Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)

20 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 7 caps)

21 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 31 caps)

22 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 63 caps)

23 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 15 caps)

Source: Read Full Article