Flank Courtney Lawes to captain England against Springboks
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Cape Town – Courtney Lawes will captain England in Saturday’s Test against the Springboks at Twickenham, taking over from the injured Owen Farrell.
Blindside flank Lawes will lead his country for just the second time in his career on Saturday (5.15pm SA time kickoff), and will start in the No 6 jersey in the side named by coach Eddie Jones on Thursday.
No 8 Tom Curry and centre Henry Slade will be the England vice-captains against the world champions.
With Farrell out with an ankle problem, powerful runner Manu Tuilagi has shifted back into the midfield at No 12, with Joe Marchant brought in at right wing, where Tuilagi started in last weekend’s 32-15 victory over the Wallabies.
The other change to the starting XV comes at hooker, where Jamie George has been sidelined with a knee injury. Last week’s replacement hooker, Jamie Blamire, will wear the No 2 jersey against the world champions, with Nic Dolly set for a Test debut off the bench.
Veteran prop Joe Marler is also back among the reserves, with England sure to be seeking revenge for their 2019 Rugby World Cup final defeat to the South Africans, while they did beat the Boks 12-11 in their last encounter at Twickenham in 2018.
“This is our biggest game of the season and the final game of the autumn campaign, and we want to finish with a bang,” Jones said in a statement on Thursday.
“We’ve been really pleased with the preparation this week and how the team has continued to develop over the past month.
“Now we want to put on our best performance this autumn in front of a capacity 82 000 crowd at Twickenham.”
15 Freddie Steward 14 Joe Marchant 13 Henry Slade 12 Manu Tuilagi 11 Jonny May 10 Marcus Smith 9 Ben Youngs 8 Tom Curry 7 Sam Underhill 6 Courtney Lawes (captain) 5 Jonny Hill 4 Maro Itoje 3 Kyle Sinckler 2 Jamie Blamire 1 Bevan Rodd.
Bench: 16 Nic Dolly 17 Joe Marler 18 Will Stuart 19 Charlie Ewels 20 Sam Simmonds 21 Alex Dombrandt 22 Raffi Quirke 23 Max Malins.