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Fiji-born wing Cokanasiga handed England debut as Jones rings changes

Japan are the visitors to Twickenham on Saturday.

BATH WING JOE Cokanasiga has been handed his England debut on his 21st birthday as head coach Eddie Jones announced 11 changes to his starting side for Saturday’s Test against Japan at Twickenham [KO 3pm, Sky Sports].

Fiji-born flyer Cokanasiga takes over on the right wing from Chris Ashton, who shifts across to the left wing.

Wasps v Bath - Heineken European Champions Cup - Ricoh Arena Bath wing Cokanasiga gets his chance against Japan. Source: David Davies

Leicester’s George Ford starts at out-half and captains the side in his 50th Test, having come off the bench in last weekend’s agonising 16-15 loss to world champions New Zealand.

England co-captains Owen Farrell and Dylan Hartley are both among the replacements to face 2019 World Cup hosts Japan.

Only fullback Elliot Daly starts England’s penultimate November international in the same shirt, with lock Maro Itoje and flanker Mark Wilson retained but changing positions in the pack.

Former Japan boss Jones has also opted for a new midfield pairing of Jack Nowell and Alex Lozowski, with Danny Care starting at scrum-half.

Hartley has been replaced by British and Irish Lion Jamie George at hooker, with Exeter props Alec Hepburn and Harry Williams in a new-look front row.

Charlie Ewels partners Maro Itoje in the second row, with Courtney Lawes at blindside flanker, while Zach Mercer wins his second cap at number eight, with Wilson switching to openside flanker.

19-year-old Worcester Warriors flanker Ted Hill is set for his England debut off the bench. 

Eddie Jones after the game Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Jones has repeatedly made it clear he wanted this week to mirror England’s second game at the World Cup, where they will only have a four-day turnaround between fixtures against Tonga and the United States.

That means the Australian coach is likely to make major changes between the pool fixtures.

England (v Japan):

15. Elliot Daly
14. Joe Cokanasiga
13. Jack Nowell
12. Alex Lozowski
11. Chris Ashton
10. George Ford (captain)
9. Danny Care

1. Alec Hepburn
2. Jamie George
3. Harry Williams
4. Charlie Ewels
5. Maro Itoje
6. Courtney Lawes
7. Mark Wilson
8. Zach Mercer

Replacements:

16. Dylan Hartley
17. Ben Moon
18. Kyle Sinckler
19. Ted Hill
20. Sam Underhill
21. Richard Wigglesworth
22. Owen Farrell
23. Henry Slade 

© – AFP 2018

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