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Hartley benched by England head coach Eddie Jones for the first time

George Ford and Chris Robshaw will co-captain the team against Samoa at Twickenham.

Hartley and Jones at today's media briefing.
Hartley and Jones at today's media briefing.
Image: Yui Mok

ENGLAND WILL HAVE a new Test captain for the first time under coach Eddie Jones after he left Dylan Hartley on the bench for Saturday’s international against Samoa at Twickenham.

Northampton hooker Hartley has been at the helm while England have won 21 out of 22 Tests since Jones took over following the hosts’ first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.

But he was among the replacements named by the Australian on Thursday for England’s final Test of 2017, with Jamie George, the British and Irish Lions’ first-choice hooker during this year’s drawn series in New Zealand, given a full England debut.

George is one of nine changes to the starting XV that defeated Australia 30-6 at Twickenham last week.

Fly-half George Ford and former skipper Chris Robshaw, the back-row forward, will co-captain England in Hartley’s absence as they did in a non-cap international against the Barbarians in May.

This week it is an opportunity for some squad members who haven’t been playing to put their best foot forward,” said Jones.

The former Australia and Japan coach has made changes across the board in his most major overhaul since taking charge of England.

In the backs, first-choice goal-kicker Owen Farrell is rested for the second time this month, having also missed England’s opening 21-8 victory over Argentina, and is not even on the bench.

His absence paves the way for a new centre partnership of Alex Lozowski and Henry Slade, with Jonathan Joseph having already been dropped earlier this week.

Danny Care starts at scrum-half in place of Ben Youngs, while Mike Brown returns at fullback after recovering from concussion in a back three where wings Elliot Daly and Jonny May have kept their places.

Up front, injuries to Nathan Hughes and Sam Underhill forced Jones to reshape his back-row.

Romania: Romania v Samoa - International Friendly Rugby Samoa's Paul Perez in action against Romania last weekend. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Robshaw makes his first England start at openside flanker since Jones took over, Sam Simmonds is given a full debut at number eight and Maro Itoje is drafted in at blindside flanker.

Robshaw’s move to number seven comes despite Jones saying in a newspaper column before he became England coach that the Harlequins back-row was only a “six-and-a-half at best”.

Joe Launchbury, man-of-the-match against Australia, retains his second row place but Courtney Lawes has been benched in favour of Charlie Ewels.

As well as bringing in George to the front row, Jones picked Ellis Genge at loosehead prop, with Mako Vunipola no longer even in the matchday 23.

“This is an exciting squad to play against Samoa and we are expecting them to be immensely physical and committed this weekend,” said Jones.

“We want to follow up last week’s performance against Australia and play better again this week,” he added

Cash-strapped Samoa, who announced their side late on Wednesday, have made three changes to the team that surprisingly lost 17-13 to Romania last week.

Alapati Leiua starts at inside centre instead of Rey Lee-Lo, now on the bench.

TJ Ioane has been recalled at openside flanker, with Jack Lam moving across to number eight in place of the now-benched Ofisa Treviranus.

The other change made by coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua sees Josh Tyrell replace Faatiga Lemalu in the second row.

England (v Samoa):

15. Mike Brown
14. Jonny May
13. Henry Slade
12. Alex Lozowski
11. Elliot Daly
10. George Ford (co-capt)
9. Danny Care

1. Ellis Genge
2. Jamie George
3.  Dan Cole
4.  Joe Launchbury
5. Charlie Ewels
6. Maro Itoje
7. Chris Robshaw (co-capt)
8. Sam Simmonds

Replacements:

16. Dylan Hartley
17. Joe Marler
18. Harry Williams
19. Nick Isiekwe
20. Courtney Lawes
21.  Ben Youngs
22. Piers Francis
23. Semesa Rokoduguni

Samoa (v England):

15. Ahsee Tuala
14. Paul Perez
13. Kieron Fonotia
12. Alapati Leiua
11. David Lemi
10. Tim Nanai-Williams
9. Dwayne Polataivao

1. Jordan Lay
2. Motu Matu’u
3. Donald Brighouse
4. Josh Tyrell
5. Chris Vui (capt)
6. Piula Faasalele
7. TJ Ioane
8.  Jack Lam

Replacements:

16. Manu Leiataua
17.  James Lay
18. Hisa Sasagi
19. Faatiga Lemalu
20. Ofisa Treviranus
21.  Melani Matavao
22.  Rey Lee-Lo
23.  JJ Taulagi

© – AFP, 2017

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