LONDON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Owen Farrell, Jonny May and Joe Launchbury will start for England against Australia on Saturday, with Anthony Watson switching to fullback and Maro Itoje named among the replacements by coach Eddie Jones on Thursday.
After a slow-paced victory over Argentina last week and only Samoa to come after this weekend, Jones was always likely to return to his strongest-looking side.
Farrell was rested last week but comes in at inside centre, with Henry Slade dropping to the bench. May has recovered from injury to start on the right wing with Watson starting at fullback, where he played for an hour after Mike Brown went off with concussion which has ruled him out of Saturday’s game. The only change in the pack sees Launchbury in for George Kruis at lock alongside Courtney Lawes, with Itoje, also rested last week, on the bench.
England will need to be much sharper this week against an Australia team who have won five and drawn one of their last six games, including a rare success against New Zealand.
However, the Wallabies have lost four in a row against England and their only win in the teams’ last seven meetings was in the Rugby World Cup pool game that ended the hosts’ interest in the tournament two years ago.
England team to face Australia on Saturday: 15 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby 27 caps) 14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers 27 caps) 13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby 34 caps) 12 Owen Farrell (Saracens 52 caps) 11 Elliot Daly (Wasps 14 caps) 10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers 38 caps) 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers 71 caps) 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens 43 caps) 2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints 87 caps) captain 3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers 75 caps) 4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps 45 caps) 5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints 59 caps) 6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins 57 caps) 7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 2 caps) 8 Nathan Hughes (Wasps 11 caps) Replacements 16 Jamie George (Saracens 18 caps) 17 Joe Marler (Harlequins 51 caps) 18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs 3 caps) 19 Maro Itoje (Saracens 12 caps) 20 Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs 1 cap) 21 Danny Care (Harlequins 74 caps) 22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs 8 caps) 23 Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby 3 caps)
Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Toby Davis