Mako Vunipola starts as England make four changes for South Africa | Rugby Union News

Mako Vunipola starts for England, with Manu Tuilagi making his 50th appearance; South Africa visit Twickenham for the final match of the autumn on Saturday

Last Updated: 24/11/22 11:45am

Mako Vunipola will start for the first time since 2021

Eddie Jones has made four changes to his England side to take on South Africa in the final match of the autumn on Saturday, with Mako Vunipola earning his first start since the 2021 Six Nations.

Tommy Freeman, Jamie George and Alex Coles also come into the starting line-up, with Ellis Genge, Jack Nowell, Sam Simmonds and Luke Cowan-Dickie moving onto the bench.

The match marks George’s first start at hooker in the Series, with Freeman making his first appearance of the Autumn Nations on the wing.

It will also be a special moment for Manu Tuilagi who makes his 50th appearance for England at outside centre after making his debut for England against Wales in August 2011.

Jack Van Poortvfliet has retained his starting jersey and will line up alongside Marcus Smith at fly-half, with captain Owen Farrell in the centre.

Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill stay at lock with Coles joining Tom Curry at flanker and Billy Vunipola in at No.8.

Last weekend’s double-try scorer Will Stuart is named on the bench along with Cowan-Dickie, David Ribbans, Simmonds, Ben Youngs, Henry Slade and vice-captains Genge and Nowell.

Last time out, England fought back to clinch a draw with New Zealand.

Last time out, England fought back to clinch a draw with New Zealand.

The two sides last faced each other in November 2021, where England won a close match 27-26 and Jones is ready to “light the crowd up” at Twickenham.

“This is our last game of the autumn and our chance to continue building on the improvements we have made throughout the matches,” said Jones.

“We have made steady progress from game-to-game, culminating in a pulsating draw against New Zealand.

“Now we have the chance to test ourselves against the might of the world champions.

“We’re going out there to light the crowd up. The support at Twickenham was outstanding last week and we want to work hard on the pitch to make sure we have another atmosphere like that again on Saturday.”

England line-up vs South Africa

England: 15. Freddie Steward 14. Tommy Freeman, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Owen Farrell (C), 11. Jonny May, 10. Marcus Smith 9. Jack van Poortvliet, 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Jonny, 6. Alex Coles, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Ellis Genge, 18. Will Stuart, 19. David Ribbans, 20. Sam Simmonds, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Henry Slade, 23. Jack Nowell




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