Owen Farrell misses the match as he produced a positive PCR test result for COVID on Friday. George Furbank fills in at fly half, and Courtney Lawes – making his 88th cap – captains the side. Gloucester’s Mark Atkinson is named as a finisher.
“As Owen is unavailable to us, we’ve made these changes to the team to face Tonga today,” said Eddie Jones. “It’s a great chance for the team to see how we adapt to challenges and keep focused on preparing for a big game. We can’t wait to play in front of a full crowd at Twickenham.”
Back in 2020, Jones said: “I believe he (Furbank) can be a very good 10, maybe that’s going to be a position that we consider him strongly for in the future.
“I’ve always had this feeling and speaking to (Saints boss) Chris Boyd has reinforced that he has got the ability to play 10.
“He has done that for Northampton at the end of games when Dan Biggar has done one of those giant leaps in the air and ended the wrong way so he is an exciting prospect.
“He’s got a calm demeanour, good catch and pass skills, a solid kicking game and he’s a strong defender so he has all the attributes.
“Whether it happens during the autumn we are not sure but certainly in terms of preparation we will be pushing him in that direction.”
England’s autumn fixtures
- England vs Tonga, 3.15pm on Sat 6 Nov
- England vs Australia, 5.30pm on Sat 13 Nov
- England vs South Africa, 3.15pm on Sat 20 Nov
Where to watch the Autumn Nations Series:
Prime members can watch the Autumn Nations Series live from 30th October with the Prime Video app on TVs, mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablets, games consoles, on Virgin’s V6 TV Box, the Talk Talk TV set top box, Apple TV, Chromecast, BT TV or online.
For a list of all compatible devices visit amazon.co.uk/watchanywhere.
England team to play Tonga:
STARTERS: 15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps) 14. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, 1 cap) 13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 40 caps) 12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 43 caps) 11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 66 caps) 10. George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 4 caps) 9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 109 caps) 1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 30 caps) 2. Jamie George (Saracens, 59 caps) 3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 44 caps) 4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 48 caps) 5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps) 6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 87 caps) 7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 24 caps) 8. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 33 caps)
FINISHERS 16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps) 17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 72 caps) 18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 12 caps) 19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 23 caps) 20. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 1 cap) 21. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, uncapped) 22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 2 caps) 23. Mark Atkinson (Gloucester, Uncapped)
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LIST: Five things you didn’t know about England captain Owen Farrell
1. Almost joining Manchester United
In 2005, the 13-year-old Farrell had a trial at Old Trafford, and did enough to convince the club’s academy executives that the then goalkeeper deserved an extended spell with the club. Years later, they dressed him up as a goalkeeper on his stag fo.