Eddie Jones makes 11 changes to his England side for Japan clash

Rex Christensen
November 15, 2018

Bagshot - Bath wing Joe Cokanasiga was handed his England debut on his 21st birthday as coach Eddie Jones made 11 changes to his starting side announced on Thursday for this weekend's worldwide against Japan at Twickenham.

Cokanasiga is one of 11 personnel changes, with number eight Zach Mercer making his first start.

George Ford will start at flyhalf and captain England in his 50th match, while Jack Nowell and Alex Lozowski will form a new centre pairing.

With a showdown against Australia to come next week, co-captains Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell drop out of the starting XV and Jones has taken the decision hand leadership duties to George Ford for the Test against the Cherry Blossoms.

Jack Nowell, usually deployed as a wing, moves inside to play at outside centre, while Bath second row Charlie Ewels wins his ninth cap in place of the injured George Kruis.

The Bath back row will be flanked by Courtney Lawes on the blindside and Mark Wilson will wear the 7 jersey. Flanker Ted Hill could also make his debut having been named as a finisher for the Quilter International at Twickenham.

"We didn't use him in the 23 against New Zealand but he is a player of great promise, has a lot of natural talent but for him again it's going to be hard work that is going to count if he is going to be a successful Test player and we think he's got it in him".

Frenchman Gasquet out of Davis Cup final with injury
Noah said thathe will not name a replacement for Gasquet after the world No. 26 pulled out of the final due to injury. Jeremy Chardy and top-20 doubles players Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut complete the line-up.

"We identified Ted Hill through Alan Solomons at Worcester who suggested he was a good young player", sad Jones.

The decision to make so many changes makes obvious sense with Jones attempting to mirror his side's short turnaround between their first and second World Cup pool matches against Tonga and the U.S. next year.

On his selection for Saturday's clash at Twickenham, Jones said: "Japan is an important game for us as we want to get back to winning ways", said Jones.

It is only the second Test between England and and Japan after their meeting at the 1987 World Cup, which was won 60-7 by the Red Rose.

The Australian expects his former side, now led by ex-All Black Jamie Joseph, to be similarly enterprising on Saturday.

"We are expecting plenty of energy, aggression and fast ball movement", he said. On their last match in Europe, they came within a straightforward conversion miss of a famous victory over France, drawing 23-23 in Paris last November.

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