Saturday 22 July 2017

Nathan Hughes and Marland Yarde to start for England against the Wallabies

England's Marland Yarde crosses over to score a try against Australia in June. Photo: Dan Peled/AAP
England's Marland Yarde crosses over to score a try against Australia in June. Photo: Dan Peled/AAP

Duncan Bech

Nathan Hughes and Marland Yarde will start England's final autumn international of the year against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

In the only changes to the matchday 23 that defeated Argentina 27-14, Hughes replaces the injured Billy Vunipola at number eight and Yarde fills the vacancy left by Elliot Daly's three-week suspension.

Vunipola is in danger of missing the entire RBS 6 Nations after undergoing knee surgery, while Daly was shown a red card against the Pumas for a dangerous tackle.

"Nathan is a strong runner and will provide go-forward," head coach Eddie Jones said.

"I like one winger with pace, which is Jonny May, and one with work rate, so Marland will work hard for us."

Hughes will make his full debut after earning his first two caps in the victories over South Africa and Fiji earlier this autumn.

The explosive 25-year-old has recovered from the foot problem that forced him to miss the visit of Argentina to provide England's main ball-carrying threat in the forwards.

He has made an encouraging start to his Test career, but in covering for the rampaging Vunipola he faces one of the biggest asks in world rugby and is the closest example of a like-for-like replacement that the Grand Slam champions have.

Yarde is chosen ahead of Semesa Rokoduguni to make his second appearance of the autumn with Jonny May switching to the left wing to accommodate the Harlequins threequarter.

The bench is unchanged with Rokoduguni and lock Dave Attwood retained as reserves.

England are seeking to register a record-equalling 14th successive Test win - a mark set by Sir Clive Woodward's World Cup winners in 2002-03 - by toppling Australia.

Victory would also post a fourth consecutive triumph against the Wallabies following a 3-0 series whitewash Down Under.

"Australia have improved significantly since we last played them," Jones said.

"The enduring feature of Australian rugby is their cleverness. They look like they are doing one thing and then 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 (assistant coach) 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."

Jones has been guiding England through his first autumn campaign at the helm with Japan 2019 firmly in mind.

"We've played three Test matches on the trot which is important because it replicates a World Cup pool," Jones said.

"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."

More to follow

ENGLAND: M Brown (Harlequins); M Yarde (Harlequins), J Joseph (Bath), O Farrell (Saracens), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton, capt), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), G Kruis (Saracens), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Wood (Northampton), N Hughes (Wasps).

Replacements: J George (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), C Ewels (Bath), T Harrison (Northampton), D Care (Harlequins), B Te'o (Worcester), H Slade (Exeter).

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