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Smith starts at fly-half as Farrell returns for Australia test

Smith starts at fly-half as Farrell returns for Australia test

Marcus Smith runs in a try

Marcus Smith will start at fly-half as captain Owen Farrell returns to the side at inside centre for England’s clash with old foes Australia in the Autumn Nations Series.

Farrell missed last weekend’s victory over Tonga after testing positive for Covid, only for the result to be reviewed and proved to be a false positive following the game.

But the 30-year-old returns to skipper the side against Australia on Saturday, with Harlequins star Smith handed the No.10 jersey for his fourth England appearance.

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Elsewhere, Eddie Jones has also selected Manu Tuilagi on the right wing, with Jonny May on the left wing, while Henry Slade, Freddie Steward and Ben Youngs retain their places.

Up front, Maro Itoje will make his 50th appearance for England, following his debut against Italy in 2016, in an unchanged forward pack from the 69-3 win over Tonga.

Itoje is joined by lock Jonny Hill, hooker Jamie George and props Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler, with Courtney Lawes remaining at blindside flanker alongside Sam Underhill at openside flanker and Tom Curry at No.8.

Bevan Rodd and Raffi Quirke could make their England debuts after being named as finishers – alongside Jamie Blamire, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds and Max Malins.

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Jones said: “We know this will be a tough test for us, we’re playing against a team who have been together a while and who have beat the world champions twice. As an Australian I know how much this game means.

“We’ve had a really good week of preparation, we’re looking to improve our performance this week and I think this side is building well.”

ENGLAND XV

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)

14. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 44 caps)

13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 41 caps)

12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 93 caps)

11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 67 caps)

10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 3 caps)

9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 110 caps)

1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps)

2. Jamie George (Saracens, 60 caps)

3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 45 caps)

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 49 caps)

5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)

6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 88 caps)

7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)

8. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 34 caps)

FINISHERS

16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 3 caps)

17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, uncapped)

18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)

19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 24 caps)

20. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 2 caps)

21. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)

22. Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks, uncapped)

23. Max Malins (Saracens, 8 caps)

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