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Owen Farrell 'not happy' as Courtney Lawes named England captain against Wallabies, says Eddie Jones

Owen Farrell is said to be unhappy about Courtney Lawes named as captain. Photo: Dave Hunt/EPA

Owen Farrell is said to be unhappy about Courtney Lawes named as captain. Photo: Dave Hunt/EPA

Published Jun 30, 2022


Farrell 'not happy' as Lawes named England captain against Wallabies

Perth, Australia | AFP | Thursday 6/30/2022 - 11:21 UTC+3 | 542 words

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ADDS Jones quotes

England coach Eddie Jones admitted Owen Farrell "wasn't very happy" after Courtney Lawes was named captain Thursday for the opening Test against Australia, as veteran scrum-half Danny Care was handed a first start since 2018.

Big forward Billy Vunipola will also start in Perth on Saturday after being recalled for the first time since March last year.

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Veteran back Farrell had been Eddie Jones's go-to man as skipper since 2018, but ankle injuries forced him to miss the entire Six Nations this year with Lawes taking the armband.

Jones opted to stick with the experienced blindside flanker Lawes for the opening Test of the three-match series, although Farrell returns, having last played in the 32-15 win over the Wallabies in November 2021.

"We want Owen to be at his best and he's been out of the side for a while. It's an opportunity for him to play three Tests back-to-back and produce his best," said Jones.

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"Owen's a bloke who expresses his feelings clearly. He wants to be captain. When I told him he wasn't going to be captain, he wasn't very happy.

"Courtney Lawes has got a good sense of togetherness, he's calm, engaging with the players. He's the right fit for this tour," he added.

Farrell will start at inside centre with Joe Marchant at outside centre. Joe Cokanasiga and Jack Nowell are on the wings and Freddie Steward at full back.

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Care was preferred to Harry Randall at scrum-half, almost four years after winning the last of his 84 caps, pairing with playmaker Marcus Smith in the No.10 shirt.

"Ever since he's come to camp, he's impressed," said Jones of the 35-year-old Care.

"The speed of the ruck ball suits his running game. We feel it's a great opportunity at Optus Stadium where the ground is hard and fast and suits his style of play."

Jonny May, second only to Rory Underwood in England's list of all-time leading try-scorers, was not in the match-day 23 after contracting Covid on arrival in Perth last week.

In another blow for the squad, Bath lock Charlie Ewels suffered a knee injury in training on Wednesday and has been ruled out of the tour.

Bristol Bears back-row forward Sam Jeffries will fly to Australia to replace Ewels in the squad.

Hooker Jamie George joins props Ellis Genge and Will Stuart up front with Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill in the second row.

Tom Curry is openside flanker and Australian-born Vunipola makes his first appearance for England since the Six Nations last year at No.8.

"We have had very strong preparation for this game. We did some good recovery work in Fremantle and quality training in Perth," said Jones.

"The squad has come together well since we met up last week. Picking the 23 out of this group of 36 was difficult."

England have won all eight of their Tests against the Wallabies since former Australia coach Jones took charge after the 2015 World Cup, including a 3-0 series whitewash six years ago.

England (15-1): Freddie Steward; Jack Nowell, Joe Marchant, Owen Farrell, Joe Cokanasiga; Marcus Smith, Danny Care; Billy Vunipola, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes (capt); Johnny Hill, Maro Itoje; Will Stuart, Jamie George, Ellis Genge

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Joe Heyes, Ollie Chessum, Lewis Ludlam, Jack van Poortlviet, Guy Porter, Henry Arundell


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