Rugby-Smith at flyhalf for England, Farrell at 12, Tuilagi on the wing


  • Rugby
  • Thursday, 11 Nov 2021

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn International - England v Tonga - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - November 6, 2021 England's Marcus Smith celebrates after scoring a try REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Marcus Smith will start at flyhalf for England against Australia on Saturday, with captain Owen Farrell returning at inside centre and Manu Tuilagi getting a rare outing on the wing as Eddie Jones has found a creative answer to his centre conundrum.

With Farrell returning after missing last week's 69-3 win over Tonga it was widely expected that he would slot in at 12 alongside playmaker Smith.

With Henry Slade delivering a man of the match performance at outside centre last week, Jones has kept him in position and moved Tuilagi from 12 to the right wing, in place of Adam Radwan, who is out of the squad all together.

Tuilagi's only other start on the wing came under Stuart Lancaster against New Zealand in Dunedin in 2014.

After missing several training sessions with a leg injury, Smith came on for the final 30 minutes of last week's Tonga game, setting up one try and scoring another, and was given a rousing reception by the Twickenham fans.

Having played his first two games against the United States and Canada, Saturday's outing will be a step up for the 22-year-old, but after his consummate displays in helping Harlequins to the Premiership title last season, it seems unlikely to faze him.

The pack is unchanged but, with Joe Marler ruled out after a positive COVID test, Sale's uncapped 21-year-old Bevan Rodd is drafted in among the replacements. Uncapped scrumhalf Raffi Quirke is also on the bench.

England are seeking an eighth successive victory over the Wallabies, who lost to Scotland last week, before facing world champions South Africa next week.

England team to play Australia (17.30 kick off)15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)14. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 44 caps)13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 41 caps)12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 93 caps)11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 67 caps)10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 3 caps)9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 110 caps)1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps)2. Jamie George (Saracens, 60 caps)3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 45 caps)4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 49 caps)5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 88 caps)7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)8. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 34 caps) Replacements16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 3 caps)17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, uncapped)18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 24 caps)20. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 2 caps)21. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)22. Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks, uncapped)23. Max Malins (Saracens, 8 caps)

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Toby Davis)

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