England vs Tonga: Tom Curry starts at No 8; Marcus Smith on bench; Jamie George starts at hooker | Rugby Union News

Eddie Jones’ England selection calls for Tonga Test at Twickenham on Saturday (3.15pm kick off): Tom Curry shifted from flanker and picked ahead of Alex Dombrandt at No 8; Marcus Smith on the bench after leg injury so Owen Farrell starts at 10; Jamie George starts at hooker.

Last Updated: 04/11/21 12:28pm

Tom Curry has been shifted from flanker to No 8 for Saturday's England Test vs Tonga

Tom Curry has been shifted from flanker to No 8 for Saturday’s England Test vs Tonga

Tom Curry will start at No 8 for England vs Tonga at Twickenham on Saturday, while fly-half Marcus Smith is fit enough only for the bench.

With Billy Vunipola out of the squad and Exeter’s Sam Simmonds most recently cut, Harlequins’ Alex Dombrandt remained the only specialist No 8 in the squad, but his superb club form has been ignored by Eddie Jones, with Curry shifted from flanker to the back of the scrum.

As a result, Northampton’s versatile Courtney Lawes starts at blindside with Bath’s Sam Underhill at openside, while Exeter’s Jonny Hill joins Maro Itoje in the second row.

Smith starting among the replacements, having struggled this week with a leg injury, means Owen Farrell starts in the halfbacks alongside Ben Youngs, with Henry Slade partnering Manu Tuilagi at centre.

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Tom Curry.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Alex Dombrandt, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 George Furbank.

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