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Eddie Jones opts for Elliot Daly ahead of Jonathan Joseph for Springboks clash

Published 10/11/2016

Elliot Daly will start for England against South Africa
Elliot Daly will start for England against South Africa

Elliot Daly has been handed an England full Test debut against South Africa because head coach Eddie Jones feels he currently has the edge in sharpness over Jonathan Joseph.

Daly, who has won five caps as a replacement, has got the nod to start at outside centre for Saturday's autumn series opener against the Springboks at Twickenham.

The Wasps centre will form a new midfield partnership alongside Owen Farrell that offers long-range left and right-footed kicking options.

"JJ has missed a little bit of training lately and I just feel that Elliot is a bit sharper at the moment," said Jones, when asked about his decision to select Daly ahead of Joseph, who drops to the bench.

"He (Daly) has got pace and power and a booming left foot which can be very useful, and he has done well in Tests when he has come off the bench.

"JJ is a great team player and he will be back."

Daly was among the Aviva Premiership's most dangerous players last season with his acceleration and eye for an outside break terrorising defences to Wasps' benefit.

While Joseph relies on elusive footwork and a burst of speed to beat defenders, Daly's skill lies in gliding through gaps and he also provides a long-range boot out of hand and from the kicking tee.

Injuries have given Northampton flanker Tom Wood a chance to end a year-long spell in the international wilderness that began after last autumn's World Cup.

Wood has been picked at seven ahead of Nathan Hughes, with Jones opting for his work-rate, line-out expertise and experience over the explosive potential of the Wasps back row.

"South Africa rugby is about big ball carriers and playing off the back of that," said Jones. " Tom has got a big role in that area - to stop their ball runners. He has got a good workrate and he can stop them on the gainline."

England captain Dylan Hartley said his Northampton team-mate had earned his recall.

"Tom has been out in the wilderness but he has got his head down and worked really hard and it has paid off. His work ethic is unbelievable."

South Africa have lost five of their past nine matches and England will be hoping they can end a run of 12 matches without a win against them that stretches back to 2006.

"We are an ambitious team and we want to be the number one team in the world," said Jones. "This game against South Africa is another step towards that and we are looking forward to it.

"They are coming off the back of a disappointing season but they will come to Twickenham all geared up and ready to go.

"We want to change the run of results against South Africa over a period of time.

"We have picked a strong side. There have been a lot of injuries but we haven't given it any thought because we've been busy preparing for this game."

Hartley insists England are not paying any attention to the long run without a win against the Springboks.

"It is just the next game for me and for the team. In terms of looking back, nobody on this team has beaten South Africa. We just want to progress and South Africa are the next side in our way.

"We are as well prepared as we can be. We have been building towards this for a long time and we are ready and confident."

Jones certainly seems satisfied with the way his players have prepared for Saturday's match.

"We've trained well this week and I'm pleased with how the players have come together and responded to some of the things we've asked them to do.

"The boys are focused and ready to go. We're looking forward to the game. It's a fantastic opportunity to show how much depth we have in English rugby.

"With a few influential players not available for selection, this is a great opportunity for some of the new faces to put both feet forward and we're backing them to do the job for us.

"We can't wait to get back to Twickenham and make this a game to remember. We want to make Twickenham an intimidating place for opposition teams to play rugby, and the fans can contribute to that."

Hartley's Northampton team-mate Courtney Lawes will win his 50th cap having made his debut against Australia at Twickenham in 2009.

Hughes is one of three uncapped players featuring on the bench, with Harlequins tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler and Worcester centre Ben Te'o also set to make debuts when South Africa open the Old Mutual Wealth Series.

Wing Jonny May also makes his first appearance since the World Cup following a year-long battle with a variety of injuries, lining up on the left with Marland Yarde patrolling the opposite flank.

In total there are six changes to the starting XV that toppled Australia 44-40 in Sydney in June, a win that sealed a 3-0 whitewash of the Wallabies.

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