England have named Elliot Daly in place of Jonathan Joseph at outside centre for Saturday’s autumn opener against South Africa at Twickenham.
Daly makes his full Test debut after winning five caps as a replacement, forming a new midfield partnership alongside Owen Farrell that offers long-range left and right-footed kicking options.
It is the first time Joseph, a veteran of 25 internationals, has been dropped since establishing himself during the 2015 RBS 6 Nations and he drops to the bench to provide centre and wing cover.
Tom Wood ends a year-long spell in the international wilderness that began after last autumn’s World Cup by filling the void at openside created by a succession of injuries.
“We’ve picked a matchday 23 with a blend of experience and youth,” head coach Eddie Jones said.
Daly was among the Aviva Premiership’s most dangerous players last season with his acceleration and eye for an outside break breaching defences to Wasps’ benefit.
While Joseph relies on elusive footwork and a burst of speed to beat defenders, Daly’s skill lies in gliding through gaps and he also provides a long-range boot out of hand and from the kicking tee.
Wood has been picked at seven ahead of Nathan Hughes with Jones opting for his work-rate, line-out expertise and experience over the explosive potential of the Wasps back row.
Hughes is one of three uncapped players featuring on the bench with Harlequins tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler and Worcester centre Ben Te’o also set to make debuts when South Africa open the Old Mutual Wealth Series on Saturday.
Wing Jonny May also makes his first appearance since the World Cup following a year-long battle with a variety of injuries, lining up on the left with Marland Yarde patrolling the opposite flank.
In total there are six changes to the starting XV that toppled Australia 44-40 in Sydney in June, a win that sealed a 3-0 whitewash of the Wallabies.
Dylan Hartley captains a side containing 596 international caps as England seek their first victory over the Springboks since 2006, a winless streak that spans 12 Tests.
Hartley’s Northampton team-mate Courtney Lawes will win his 50th cap having made his debut against Australia at Twickenham in 2009.
“We’ve trained well this week and I’m pleased with how the players have come together and responded to some of the things we’ve asked them to do. The boys are focused and ready to go,” Jones said.
“We’re looking forward to the game. It’s a fantastic opportunity to show how much depth we have in English rugby.
“With a few influential players not available for selection this is a great opportunity for some of the new faces to put both feet forward and we’re backing them to do the job for us.
“Test matches are always about the contest up front and South Africa pride themselves in the set piece but we’ll be ready for the challenge.
“We can’t wait to get back to Twickenham and make this a game to remember. It’s a very special stadium and we hope the crowd really gets behind us on Saturday.
“We want to make Twickenham an intimidating place for opposition teams to play rugby and the fans can contribute to that.
“We congratulate Courtney Lawes on his 50-cap milestone – an excellent achievement.
“I’m also pleased to see a number of returning players get their chance on Saturday, most notably Jonny May after his long injury rehabilitation.”
England team to face South Africa:
Brown; Yarde, Daly, Farrell, May; Ford, Youngs; Vunipola, Hartley (captain), Cole, Launchbury, Lawes, Robshaw, Wood, Vunipola
Replacements: George, Marler, Sinckler, Attwood, Hughes, Care, Te’o, Joseph
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18012684/elliot-daly-starts-england-tom-wood-jonny-recalled-south-africa-test
Daly set for first England start as May, Wood return
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