Hughes and Yarde to start against Wallabies

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 10:36

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: England coach Eddie Jones made two changes to his side to play Australia in Saturday's final match of the year-end Tests.

Nathan Hughes (Wasps) starts his first game for England at No.8, replacing the injured Billy Vunipola (Saracens).

Marland Yarde (Harlequins) returns to the right wing in a starting side which contains 607 caps, while the bench remains unchanged.

"We've had a great week's preparation and we can't wait to get to Twickenham on Saturday with the crowd right behind us," said Jones.

"Nathan Hughes comes in for Billy Vunipola, who has been exceptional for us all year and we wish him well in his recovery from injury.

"Nathan is a strong runner and will provide go-forward.

"Marland Yarde starts on the right wing. As I've said before, I like one wing with pace, which is Jonny May and then we want work-rate - Marland will work hard for us.

"The great thing about our team is that no-one is irreplaceable. We've had seven influential players missing throughout the year-end Tests,  but we've been able to fill that gap and that's the sort of team we are developing.

"Most big Test matches come down to the last 20 minutes and if you look back historically at big Test matches between England and Australia at Twickenham the last 20 minutes has always been a time where either team can win the game and the team that is the most composed, makes good decisions and physically pushes themselves is the team that is going to win the game.

"Australia have improved significantly since we last played them. The enduring feature of Australian rugby is their cleverness. They look like they are doing one thing and they do the other. They have got some quite clever two-phase variation plays and we are going to need to be on our guard.

"They played very deep and a long way from the gain line against us in June, now they are really flattening up. They've really got their attack together and it's clear Stephen Larkham is doing a good job with them.

"We want to make the game into a physical contest but we also need to be flexible and adaptable like we were against Argentina and if do that we'll put ourselves in a good position to win the game.

"We've played three Test matches on the trot which is important because it replicates a World Cup pool. You get through the pool you then need to win every game to win the World Cup. We've won three from three so it's a great dress rehearsal for the World Cup.

"We need to win this game to progress to the next stage. You can't just win three games to go through, Japan showed that, so we've got to get in that practice of winning four games on the trot against quality opposition."

Dave Attwood and Semesa Rokoduguni (both Bath) are included in the squad as travelling reserves.

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te'o, 23 Henry Slade.

Date: Saturday, December 3
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT; 01.30, Sunday, December 4 Australia Eastern Daylight time)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)