Rugby: Six Saracens start for England in South Africa
PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 June 2018
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England head coach Eddie Jones has named six Saracens in his starting XV to play South Africa in the first Test at Ellis Park, Johannesburg on Saturday.
Owen Farrell will captain the side, while clubmate Mako Vunipola will run out for his 50th England cap.
And Nick Isiekwe will make his first start for England in the pack, which also includes Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola.
Uncapped Ben Spencer is the seventh Saracens player named in the matchday 23, following their Aviva Premiership title win against Exeter at Twickenham last month, and is on the bench alongside uncapped Brad Shields (Hurricanes/ Wasps).
Jones said: “We have had a really good week in preparation for this weekend and we are pleased with the way the squad has come together.
“Owen Farrell has settled in well to his new role, with the senior players supporting him, and there is a good feeling within the camp.
“We want to do something special on this tour and the players are all incredibly excited about this challenge and opportunity we have.
“Ellis Park is the spiritual homeland of South African rugby and the Springboks play to another level on that ground, so we know we have to raise our game physically early on and be enormously accurate in the way we play.”
England will play South Africa in three Tests in Johannesburg (9 June), Bloemfontein (16 June) and Cape Town (23 June).
All matches kick off at 1705 local time (1605 BST).
England: 15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 18 caps); 14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 34 caps); 13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps); 12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 58 caps); 11 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 69 caps); 10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps); 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 74 caps); 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 49 caps); 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 25 caps); 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 10 caps); 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 19 caps); 5 Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 2 caps); 6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 64 caps); 7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 1 cap); 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 34 caps).
Finishers: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps); 17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 56 caps); 18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 8 caps); 19 Brad Shields (Hurricanes/ Wasps, 0 caps); 20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 14 caps); 21 Ben Spencer (Saracens, 0 caps); 22 Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 3 caps); 23 Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks, 2 caps).