England v Australia: Manu Tuilagi on bench as Jamie George starts

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England v Australia: Manu Tuilagi on bench as Jamie George starts
Manu Tuilagi last started a Test for England in June 2014
England v Australia
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 24 November Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live with BBC Two highlights at 19:30 GMT

England centre Manu Tuilagi is set to make his long-anticipated Test return after being named on the bench to face Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Tuilagi’s only England appearance since 2014 was as a 63rd-minute replacement against Wales in March 2016.

Jamie George is picked ahead of co-captain Dylan Hartley at hooker, while Owen Farrell starts at fly-half with Ben Te’o and Henry Slade the centres.

Bath’s Joe Cokanasiga is on the wing in place of the injured Jack Nowell.

Number eight Nathan Hughes, whose six-week ban for punching ended this week, is on the bench as coach Eddie Jones opts to recall Sam Underhill and Brad Shields to the starting line-up and persist with Newcastle’s Mark Wilson at the back of the pack.

Courtney Lawes shifts from the back row into the second row.

Jones said he had named a full-strength team to face Australia after an experimental selection stuttered to a 35-15 win over Japan last weekend.

“We’ve picked our best 23 for the Australia game. We know they have a unique style of attack so our ability to defend that is going to be important,” he said.

England’s autumn Tests
3 November Beat South Africa 12-11
10 November Lost to New Zealand 16-15
17 November Beat Japan 35-15
24 November Australia

“I’m really happy with the direction we’re going in terms of the way we play the game. We are developing a unique style of rugby, which is English and the players are proud to play that way.”

A succession of injuries and disciplinary issues have restricted Tuilagi to the briefest of cameos during Jones’ time in charge, with a groin strain forcing him to drop out of the squad to face South Africa in the first of England’s autumn internationals.

He has scored three tries in seven appearances this season for Leicester.

Wounded Wallabies?

Captain Michael Hooper leads Australia out for the second half of their meeting with Italy

Australia have won only four of their last 14 Tests with a 9-6 defeat by Wales a fortnight ago, followed by an unconvincing 26-7 win over Italy last weekend.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle has backed coach Michael Cheika, but has admitted there is “universal frustration” at the team’s performances.

Australia have won 25 of their previous 49 games against England, but lost the last five encounters.

The Wallabies are due to announce their team at 15:00 GMT on Thursday with doubts around several players, including star backs Israel Folau and Bernard Foley, after a sickness bug in the camp.

However, England staff have made light of the extent of the illness and a neck injury to flanker David Pocock, with defence coach John Mitchell suggesting it could part of Australia’s “mind games”.

England team to face Australia:

Daly; Cokanasiga, Slade, Te’o, May; Farrell, Youngs; Moon, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Lawes, Shields, Underhill, Wilson.

Replacements: Hartley, Hepburn, Williams, Ewels, Hughes, Wigglesworth, Ford, Tuilagi

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