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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 25 April, 2019

Hartley dropped by England but Tuilagi named on the bench for Wallabies Test

Eddie Jones has announced his starting XV for Saturday’s game against Australia at Twickenham.

Dylan Hartley is among the substitutes.
Dylan Hartley is among the substitutes.
Image: Andrew Matthews

MANU TUILAGI MOVED closer to a long-awaited Test comeback after being named on the bench for England’s concluding November international at Twickenham against Australia.

Also among the replacements was England co-captain Dylan Hartley — the first time the hooker has been left out of the starting XV by England coach Eddie Jones when available against a Tier One or leading nation.

Leicester centre Tuilagi was withdrawn from the bench on the eve of England’s nailbiting 12-11 victory over South Africa in their November opener with a groin strain after sustaining the injury during a training session at the squad’s Portugal camp.

The powerhouse midfielder was set to make his first international appearance since 2016 against the Springboks after recovering from serious groin, knee and hamstring injuries, only for his groin to tighten up.

Jones has made nine changes to the starting XV that beat Japan 35-15 at Twickenham last weekend for Saturday’s clash with his native Australia.

Injuries to wings Chris Ashton and Jack Nowell have led to the recall of Jonny May, with Joe Cokanasiga, who played from the start in his debut against Japan, retaining his place.

Co-captain Owen Farrell, on the bench against Japan, is reunited with Ben Youngs as England revert to their first-choice half-back pairing.

Meanwhile Ben Te’o returns in midfield after Alex Lozowski was dropped.

Courtney Lawes moves from the back-row to the second row alongside Maro Itoje while Bath’s Sam Underhill, who starred against New Zealand a fortnight ago, is included at openside flanker.

Jamie George, who started in place of Hartley against Japan, retains his place at hooker.

Victory over the Wallabies would mean England had won three of their four November internationals, with the only loss a 16-15 defeat by world champions New Zealand.

England Training - Pennyhill Park Tuilagi training this week. Source: Andrew Matthews

Jones has won all five of his Tests against Australia since taking charge of England following their first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup — which included a group-stage defeat by the Wallabies.

“We’ve picked our best 23 for the Australia game,” said Jones.

“We know they have a unique style of attack so our ability to defend that is going to be important. We are continually working on our strengths which is our set piece and our defence and they are areas that are progressing nicely.

We are developing a unique style of rugby, which is English and the players are proud to play that way.”

Despite leaving Hartley on the bench, Jones paid tribute to the “outstanding” leadership shown by Northampton front-row Hartley and Farrell in their unusual joint roles of co-captains.

“We have seen growth in the togetherness of the team and I think we’ve seen that in the spirit in which they’ve played,” added Jones.

Thursday’s team announcement coincided with the 15th anniversary of England’s 2003 World Cup final win over an Australia side coached by Jones.

Current Wallaby boss Michael Cheika, who played alongside Jones at Sydney club Randwick, was due to name his side later on Thursday, with Australia fresh from a 26-7 win over Italy in Padua last weekend.

Australia have had a sickness bug go through their camp and they are also sweating on the fitness of star back-row forward David Pocock, who is struggling with a neck injury.


15. Elliot Daly
14. Joe Cokanasiga
13. Henry Slade
12. Ben Te’o
11. Jonny May
10. Owen Farrell (co-captain)
9. Ben Youngs

8. Mark Wilson
7. Sam Underhill
6. Brad Shields
5. Courtney Lawes
4. Maro Itoje
3. Kyle Sinckler
2. Jamie George
1. Ben Moon


16. Dylan Hartley (co-captain)
17. Alec Hepburn
18. Harry Williams
19. Charlie Ewels
20. Nathan Hughes
21. Richard Wigglesworth
22. George Ford
23. Manu Tuilagi

© AFP 2018 

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