England recall Wood and May for South Africa

Date published: November 10 2016

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08:  Tom Wood catches the ball during the England training session at Pennyhill Park on November 8, 2016 in Bagshot, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England coach Eddie Jones believes the introduction of three new faces into his side for Saturday’s Test against South Africa shows the strength in depth he has at his disposal.

Jones gives a first start to Elliot Daly, while Tom Wood and Jonny May both play for the first time under his management.

Prop Kyle Sinckler is also expected to make his debut off the bench while centre Ben Te’o and number eight Nathan Hughes could also do likewise.

“This game is a fantastic opportunity to show how much depth we’ve got in English rugby,” said Jones.

“We can’t wait to get back to Twickenham and really make this a game to remember.”

Jones revealed Daly has been chosen at outside centre with Jonathan Joseph struggling with a groin injury, while May gets the nod on the wing.

“Elliot has been there or thereabouts for the past five or six Tests, he gives us a left-foot option out wide, is a strong runner and a great defender so he gets his opportunity,” said Jones.

“Jonny has always been a guy we look at closely because he has extreme pace. Two of our main wingers Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson are out injured, so he gets his opportunity.”

Jones believes the battle up front will be a key area at Twickenham on Saturday as England go in search of their first win against South Africa since 2006.

He also believes the recalled Northampton Saints flanker Wood will have an important part to play.

“Test matches are always about the contest up front – scrums, mauls, line-outs,” said Jones.

“That’s one thing that hasn’t changed, especially when you are playing against a traditional rival such as South Africa who pride themselves in those areas. That’s going to be the contestable area of the game.

“Our number seven is all about the defensive effort.”

“It’s all about stopping the opposition getting to the gain line. He know his job, has worked very hard to get back into the team, is an experienced player and he has really been a welcome addition to the squad.”

Second-row Courtney Lawes will win his 50th cap on Saturday and Jones is backing him and partner Joe Launchbury to take their chance in the absence of injured George Kruis and Maro Itoje.

“It’s a great honour for him, we are excited about the fact he and Joe Launchbury are playing together again,” said Jones.

“They are both outstanding players capable of really progressing their careers. We’ve had George Kruis and Maro Itoje do very well for us, so this is their opportunity to take their chance.

“They both have great ability and we are backing them to do the job.”

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Jonathan Joseph

Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Twickenham
Time: 14:30 local (14:30 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant Referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

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