TODAY |

England name Fijian winger for Test debut against Japan

Joe Cokanasiga will make his England debut as one of 11 changes in personnel made for this weekend's Test against Japan at Twickenham.

The giant Fijian-born wing, who turned 21 today, has been in destructive form for Bath this season and is rewarded with his first cap in a team that is captained by George Ford.

Only fullback Elliot Daly starts in the jersey he wore during the 16-15 loss to the All Blacks last weekend, with wing Chris Ashton, lock Maro Itoje and flanker Mark Wilson surviving but switching positions.

A new-look centre pairing of Jack Nowell and Alex Lozowski plays outside Ford and his halfback partner Danny Care.

Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell, co-captains for the first two games of the autumn against South Africa and New Zealand, are present on the bench.

Hartley is replaced by British and Irish Lion Jamie George at hooker as part of an all-new front row also featuring Exeter duo Alec Hepburn and Harry Williams.

Charlie Ewels joins Itoje in the second row, Courtney Lawes is drafted in at blindside flanker and Zach Mercer wins his second cap at No.8, with Wilson switching to openside.

Jones has made the changes with the four-day turnaround between group games against Tonga and the United States at next year's World Cup in mind.

"This weekend is a good opportunity for us to test the depth of the squad," Jones said.

"It is exciting to be able to give starting opportunities to Zach Mercer and Joe Cokanasiga and young Ted Hill on the bench."

It is only the second Test between England and Japan after their meeting at the 1987 World Cup, which was won 60-7 by the Red Rose.

"We are expecting plenty of energy, aggression and fast ball movement from Japan," said Jones, who coached Japan at the 2015 World Cup.

"They will be full of surprises, quick taps, lineouts and plays. They are going to have a bag of magic."

ENGLAND: Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga, Jack Nowell, Alex Lozowski, Chris Ashton, George Ford, Danny Care, Zach Mercer, Mark Wilson, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels, Harry Williams, Jamie George, Alec Hepburn.

Reserves: Dylan Hartley, Ben Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Ted Hill, Sam Underhill, Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell, Henry Slade.

BAGSHOT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06:  Joe Cokanasiga of England during training at Pennyhill Park on November 6, 2018 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
Joe Cokanasiga of England Source: Getty


Topics