DURBAN – England coach Eddie Jones named a team for the first Test against South Africa in Johannesburg Saturday that includes only seven survivors from a loss to Ireland in their last outing.Full-back Elliot Daly, winger Jonny May and captain and inside centre Owen Farrell remain from the backline that started in a 24-15 Six Nations home defeat by Ireland this year.
But two of them will occupy different positions for the Ellis Park showdown with Daly moving from the left wing and Farrell from fly-half. Props Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler, lock Maro Itoje and flanker Chris Robshaw also started against the Irish as England suffered a third straight Six Nations loss to finish fifth. The eight newcomers are centre Henry Slade, winger Mike Brown, fly-half George Ford, scrum-half Ben Youngs, hooker Jamie George, lock Nick Isiekwe, flanker Tom Curry and number eight Billy Vunipola.
A calf injury ruled out lock Joe Launchbury, who probably would have been a starter. Injuries and a need for rest meant Jones had to leave behind many stars, including captain and hooker Dylan Hartley, as he seeks a historic first series win for England in South Africa. In five previous attempts, England have drawn two series and lost three, winning only two Tests out of 11.
"We have had a really good week in preparation for this weekend and we are pleased with the way the squad has come together," Jones said.
"Owen Farrell has settled in well to his new role (as captain), with the senior players supporting him, and there is a good feeling within the camp. We want to do something special on this tour and the players are all incredibly excited about this challenge and the opportunity we have.
"Ellis Park is the spiritual homeland of South African rugby and the Springboks play to another level on that ground. So we know we have to raise our game physically early on and be enormously accurate in the way we play."
England: Elliot Daly; Jonny May, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (capt), Mike Brown; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, Tom Curry, Chris Robshaw; Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje; Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Mako Vunipola
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, Brad Shields, Nathan Hughes, Ben Spencer, Piers Francis, Denny Solomona