With England having recently announced a 25 man squad for Saturday’s final autumn test against Australia, we take a look at the side that Eddie Jones is likely to select for his team’s final challenge of 2016.
1) Mako Vunipola
Although Joe Marler is making a significant impact off the bench in terms of the set piece, he is likely to remain as an impact player for the time being, with Vunipola keeping his spot based on his fantastic running and distribution skills. He brings an added dimension to the side in attack.
2) Dylan Hartley (c)
Some fans are calling for Saracens’ Jamie George to replace Hartley in the side, but the Northampton hooker’s leadership skills are second-to-none, as evidence in his team’s march towards an undefeated calendar year.
3) Dan Cole
Cole is having some troubles at scrum time, with Harlequins prop Kyle Sinckler bringing some solidity to the tighthead position when called off the bench last week. However, Australia will be a stern test of England’s scrum and Cole is almost certain to keep his spot.
4) Courtney Lawes
Lawes adapted well to the front of the lineout against Argentina, although Eddie Jones has brought Dave Attwood back in to the mix for this Saturday. However, Lawes will likely lead the lineout again against the Wallabies.
5) George Kruis
After a positive return to international rugby for the Saracens lock, Kruis will line up against the Australians this weekend.
6) Chris Robshaw
Such is Robshaw’s form that he is proving to be almost undroppable. One of the first names on the teamsheet.
7) Tom Wood
A fantastic showing against Argentina has put Wood in pole position for the openside berth once more.
8) Nathan Hughes
The Wasps number eight is likely to be given his first test start after Sale Sharks’ Josh Beaumont was dropped from the squad. Teimana Harrison will start from the bench as back row cover.
9) Ben Youngs
Youngs has edged ahead of Danny Care to be Jones’ number one scrum half this autumn and that seems unlikely to change this weekend.
10) George Ford
Eddie Jones is a very vocal fan of George Ford and with the way the Bath fly-half is playing he will start once more.
11) Jonny May
With Elliot Daly now officially banned for this match after his reckless tackle in the air against Argentina, May will move back to the left wing to accommodate either Semesa Rokoduguni or Marland Yarde on the right.
12) Owen Farrell
Eddie Jones will continue with Ford and Farrell 10/12 axis to face the Wallabies this weekend, and Farrell be determined to improve on his wayward place kicking last weekend. The match against Argentina was certainly not his finest hour, but Farrell is the kind of player that loves the biggest of occasions. Australia on Saturday will prove to be that.
13) Jonathan Joseph
Joseph put in a huge defensive shift against the Pumas and will be hoping to see more of the ball this weekend.
14) Semesa Rokoduguni
If the Bath winger is selected, this match will be a genuine test of his international capabilities and may move him up Eddie Jones’ winger pecking order. Rokoduguni certainly has the talent to earn plenty more caps.
15) Mike Brown
The Harlequins fullback started to show glimpses of his old form against Argentina, particularly his length-of-the-field run. Jones will be hoping to see more of the same for this match.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
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