England head coach Eddie Jones is convinced he has picked a side capable of making history after axing George Ford in favour of Owen Farrell at fly-half for Saturday opening Test against Australia in Brisbane.
Farrell played every match of England’s grand slam-winning Six Nations campaign at inside centre but will now operate as the side’s playmaker, while Luther Burrell will fill the No12 shirt.
The other change from Jones’s Six Nations XV is Marland Yarde replacing Jack Nowell on the left wing, as England bid to arrest woeful form Down Under. The Red Rose have never won a series in Australia, having claimed victory just three times in 17 Tests.
“If you look at England’s record in Australia it’s pretty ordinary. We’ve only ever won three games in Australia so it’s a great opportunity to put down a marker and create history,” said Jones.
“It’s important we get off to a positive start and we’ll arrive in Brisbane ready to play physical and aggressive ruby.”
Jones concedes that a long domestic campaign with Premiership runners-up Exeter Chiefs has taken its toll on Nowell, which has prompted Yarde’s inclusion. “Jack has come back after the Premiership season not 100 per cent,” added Jones. “Marland has been racing around like a fox so we feel he’s right to play this week.”
Team: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Luther Burrell, Marland Yarde, Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Chris Robshaw, James Haskell, Billy Vunipola
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Matt Mullan, Paul Hill, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Danny Care, George Ford, Jack Nowell