What team should Eddie Jones pick when England face their final test of the autumn with a mighty match against the Australians at Twickenham?
We put together our chosen 23.
1) Mako Vunipola
Although Joe Marler is really starting to the push the Saracens prop for the number one shirt with impressive set piece performances from the bench, Vunipola brings an added dimension to England’s attack and will be a key cog in avoiding defeat to a wounded Australia.
2) Dylan Hartley (c)
England’s captain keeps his place because of his outstanding leadership qualities, but he must know that Jamie George’s consistent outings in the second half of successive matches mean his spot is under threat.
3) Dan Cole
With genuine rivals like Kieran Brookes and Paul Hill dropping off the radar, Cole keeps his place for the solidity he can provide in the set piece, but Kyle Sinckler is growing in stature by the game and may usurp the Leicester tighthead’s spot during the Six Nations.
4) Courtney Lawes
Despite being shunted to the front of the lineout to accommodate Joe Launchbury’s enforced absence, Lawes led the lineout well against the Argentinians. Under Eddie Jones Lawes is starting to become the player he always should have been.
5) George Kruis
A decent return to the side after a prolonged ankle injury, Kruis made his mark at the lineout and put in decent shifts in attack and defence.
6) Chris Robshaw
This man is arguably England’s player of the series so far and undroppable right now. For this writer, the first name on the team sheet. He will enjoy another battle against the Wallabies.
7) Tom Wood
An impressive game against the Argentinians should see Wood maintain the seven spot for next week’s match. A good outing against the men in green and gold in a week’s time could cement Wood’s long term future in the squad.
8) Billy Vunipola/Josh Beaumont
If Vunipola is fit for the Australia fixture then it will be great news for the England coaches, but given his reaction to his injury on the field during the Pumas match, he will probably not feature. Instead of turning to Nathan Hughes – who has looked uninterested coming off the bench for England this autumn – Jones could turn to the athleticism of Sale Sharks captain Josh Beaumont. Teimana Harrison should only be viewed as a back-up 8 at best.
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9) Ben Youngs
Solid enough against Argentina, Youngs will start against the Wallabies because of his box kicking and his calm head under pressure. Danny Care remains an excellent impact player off the bench.
10) George Ford
The crux of England’s attacking game – everything stems from him. Eddie Jones feels the potential of this young man is endless, and he brings England’s backs to life with some brilliant passing and kicking out of hand at times.
11) Elliot Daly
Even though the Argentina match will be won Daly will want to forget, but probably always think about, the Wasps utility back deserves a chance to make amends and put in a stellar performance against the Australians. He shouldn’t be punished for one naive and silly mistake – the red card should be enough.
12) Owen Farrell
Farrell was not at his best against Argentina, but he is England’s best option at 12 right now.
13) Jonathan Joseph
A rock in defence and electric given an inch of space, Joseph deserves to keep his place at 13.
14) Jonny May
Simply brilliant against the Argentinians, like so many of the other players in the team May seems to be revelling in the guidance of Jones.
15) Mike Brown
At times back to his stunning best against Argentina, but also showing the grit and nasty edge that puts him ahead of the thinking man’s fullback in Alex Goode.
Bench: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Charlie Ewels, Teimana Harrison, Danny Care, Ben Te’o, Henry Slade
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
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