Bath fly-half George Ford will start his first Test for England in a team featuring five changes for Saturday’s clash with Samoa.
Bath fly-half George Ford will start his first Test for England in Saturday’s clash with Samoa at Twickenham
The 21 year-old takes over from former age-group team-mate Owen Farrell – who moved to inside centre – and will be partnered by his former Leicester Tigers team-mate Ben Youngs at half back as England make five changes to the side that lost to South Africa last week.
Given Brad Barritt retains the number 13 jersey, the move sees Stuart Lancaster re-instate the midfield partnership that started his maiden game in charge back in February 2012 against Scotland at Murrayfield.
Elsewhere, Wasps flank James Haskell of Wasps and Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan replace Tom Wood and Billy Vunipola in the back row.
Finally, Bath hooker Rob Webber comes for Dylan Hartley, with Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees and Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth joining the replacements for the first time this month.
“Those selected have a great opportunity to show what they can do against what will be a highly motivated Samoa team,” said England Head Coach Lancaster, who is aiming to halt a run of five consecutive defeats
“It’s great to give George a start in this series, having missed the summer tour through injury. He has been impressive in camp and now fully up to speed with the game plan and he is ready to run the game.
“Owen switches to 12 and I am sure will support George well. In the back row both James and Ben have been in great form and I am sure they will bring their physical presence to the game.
“Hooker is another competitive position and we believe Rob is ready for the start and will continue the progress he made on the New Zealand tour.”
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 James Haskell, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 George Kruis, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Marland Yarde
Date: Saturday, 22 November
Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referee: Mathieu Raynal (France), Dudley Phillips (Ireland)