Exeter Chiefs winger Jack Nowell returns to the England line-up for tomorrow’s Autumn international against New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium (5.30pm), writes Mark Stevens.
The Cornishman was forced to pull out of last week’s starting line-up to face Japan with an abdominal injury, but he has since recovered and will join club-mates Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Henry Slade in Eddie Jones’ match-day squad.
Cowan-Dickie and Simmonds are also in the starting line-up, while Slade is on the bench.
Captain Owen Farrell will make his 100th appearance for England at inside centre. Farrell made his debut against Scotland in February 2012 and he becomes only the third England men’s player to reach a century of caps.
Manu Tuilagi returns to the starting line-up at outside centre. Marcus Smith is at fly-half and Jack van Poortvliet is at scrum-half. Vice-captain Nowell is on the right wing, Jonny May is on the left wing and Freddie Steward is at full-back.
In an unchanged front row from England’s 52-13 win over Japan, props Ellis Genge (vice-captain) and Kyle Sinckler join hooker Cowan-Dickie. Maro Itoje returns to lock alongside former Chief Jonny Hill.
Simmonds, meanwhile, moves to flanker with Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola is at No.8.
The match marks the first meeting between the two sides since England beat the All Blacks 19-7 in the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final.
England head coach Jones said: “This fixture doesn’t come around too often and these are the games that players remember in their careers.
“New Zealand have had the upper hand over the years, but it’s been more balanced in recent times and the players have a chance to play their part in history.
“We’ve had a great week preparing for the game and the team is ready to go at them. We’re really pleased for Owen that he is reaching such a significant and special milestone. He is an excellent player and competitor and he is deserving of every cap.”
Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs duo Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray are in the Scotland side to play Argentina at Murrayfield tomorrow (3.15pm).
England team to face New Zealand
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 15 caps) 14. Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 43 caps) 13. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 48 caps) 12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, capt, 99 caps) 11. Jonny May (Gloucester, 70 caps) 10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 15 caps) 9. Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps) 1. Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 41 caps) 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 39 caps) 3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 54 caps) 4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 60 caps) 5. Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 17 caps) 6. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 16 caps) 7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 43 caps) 8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 66 caps)
16. Jamie George (Saracens, 70 caps) 17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 72 caps) 18. Will Stuart (Bath, 23 caps) 19. David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 1 cap) 20. Jack Willis (unattached, 5 caps) 21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 119 caps) 22. Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps) 23. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 50 caps)