Owen Farrell has been recalled for England’s clash with Australia at Twickenham on Saturday after being rested for the autumn opener against Argentina.
Farrell is picked at inside centre in place of Henry Slade, who drops to the replacements’ bench, in one of two changes in personnel to the backline that helped topple the Pumas 21-8.
Jonny May’s recovery from a hamstring strain sees him selected on the right wing while Mike Brown’s failure to recover from concussion sees Anthony Watson start at full-back for the first time.
Maro Itoje was also rested against Argentina and must now settle for a place among the replacements, while Joe Launchbury is selected as Courtney Lawes’ second row partner after George Kruis was dropped.
“I have selected the strongest 23 to play Australia and we will have to be effective in everything we do this weekend to win,” head coach Eddie Jones said.
In total England have made three changes in personnel and one positional switch after labouring past Argentina.
Apart from Itoje’s inclusion on the bench, Jones has named his strongest available 23 for the biggest home game of the year against a Wallabies side who have won their last four Tests and are unbeaten in seven.
Farrell, who acted as waterboy against Argentina, will relieve George Ford of the goalkicking duties and be reinstated as vice-captain behind Dylan Hartley for the second of this month’s three internationals at Twickenham.
Watson is viewed as Brown’s successor at full-back and is given the opportunity to press his claim for the jersey while May is the among the Aviva Premiership’s form players.
Launchbury was unfortunate to miss out on selection against Argentina and profits from a below-par display by Kruis, leaving Lawes to call the line-outs.
“This is going to be a great challenge, as we know Australia have been in great form towards the end of their season,” Jones said. “The players have had an extremely positive week. They have trained well and worked hard and we are all excited about going out on Saturday and playing well against a very good Australian side.”
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