BRISBANE, Australia — England have named Owen Farrell at fly-half for the first time in the Eddie Jones era ahead of Saturday’s first Test against Australia in Brisbane.
Farrell lines up alongside Luther Burrell, who gets the nod at inside centre, with George Ford dropping to the bench. Elsewhere Marland Yarde is preferred on the wing to Jack Nowell while Ben Youngs starts at scrum-half. Mike Brown wins his 50th cap at fullback.
The pack has a familiar look to it with Mako Vunipola replacing the unavailable Joe Marler and Dylan Hartley captains the side from hooker. Maro Itoje and George Kruis are partnered in the second-row while Chris Robshaw, James Haskell and Billy Vunipola form the back-row.
Farrell played at inside centre for England throughout the Six Nations but Burrell now steps into that void to cap a remarkable comeback after he was a late inclusion in the touring party after Manu Tuilagi was ruled out. Jones praised Ford after their win over Wales but he struggled from the tee, missing six from seven, and Farrell is now elevated to England’s first-choice No.10.
England have loaded the bench with power with Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes named alongside Luke Cowan-Dickie. And Jones has challenged England to get their three-Test series off to a good start on Saturday.
“We have picked a side to win in Brisbane,” said Jones. “As always selection was tight and naturally players are disappointed, but we’ve gone with a 23 that has a good mix of experience and youth.
“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. It’s important we get off to a positive start and we’ll arrive in Brisbane ready to play physical and aggressive rugby.
“We’re excited to be playing against a strong Australian team in their backyard. The Wallabies are ranked second in the world and have the World Rugby coach of the year, so that’s why they start as favourites. There’s a lot of expectation on them to win the series convincingly.
“We have a young squad with an average age of 24 so we are still developing and improving. It’ll be a great challenge for us and one we’re looking forward to meeting head on.”
England squad to face Australia: Mike Brown, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Luther Burrell, Marland Yarde, Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley (captain), 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.
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/16064135/england-owen-farrell-start-fly-half-australia
Farrell to start at fly-half against Australia
ESPN.com – RUGBY