BAGSHOT, England (Reuters) - England coach Eddie Jones has omitted Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje from his squad to face Argentina on Saturday and has handed starts to Henry Slade and Sam Underhill as he manages his resources with a view on the 2019 World Cup.
Farrell and Itoje are both rested as part of Jones’s long-term plan to ease the workload of some of his British and Irish Lions and both are expected to return for next week’s clash against Australia.
Slade played at outside centre in both games on England’s summer tour of Argentina but moves to 12 on Saturday, while 21-year-old Underhill gets the chance to stake a claim for the open-side flanker berth having also played against the Pumas in June for his only cap.
Elliot Daly will start on the wing having made a quicker-than-expected recovery from a knee problem, with Jonny May ruled out through a hamstring injury.
Semesa Rokoduguni was named among the replacements alongside flyhalf Alex Lozowski and uncapped back rower Sam Simmonds, who was called up on Thursday after Tom Curry injured a wrist in training and withdrew from the squad.
Captain Dylan Hartley retains the hooker berth ahead of Lions first choice Jamie George.
England, without a host of players on Lions duty, won both tests in Argentina in June to extend their winning run against them to eight matches.
The Pumas have won only one of their nine tests this year, and that was against Georgia.
“As a squad we have been preparing for this game since our first camp in August and are excited about playing in front of 82,000 fans at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday,” Jones said.
“We know that Argentina are a strong team - Rugby World Cup semi-finalists in 2015 – and we will have to be smart and play well to beat them.”
England next play Australia before finishing their series against Samoa.
England team to face Argentina: 15 Mike Brown (Harlequins 62 caps), 14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby 26 caps), 13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby 33 caps), 12 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs 7 caps), 11 Elliot Daly (Wasps 13 caps), 10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers 37 caps), 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers 70 caps), 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens 42 caps), 2 Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints 86 caps) captain, 3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers 74 caps), 4 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints 58 caps), 5 George Kruis (Saracens 20 caps), 6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins 56 caps), 7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby 1 cap), 8 Nathan Hughes (Wasps 10 caps)
Replacements: 16 Jamie George (Saracens 17 caps), 17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers 3 caps), 18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs 2 caps), 19 Joe Launchbury (Wasps 44 caps), 20 Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped), 21 Danny Care (Harlequins 73 caps), 22 Alex Lozowski (Saracens 2 caps), 23 Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby 2 caps)
Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Toby Davis