Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

England fired up to equal Sir Clive's record of wins

By Duncan Bech

Nathan Hughes and Marland Yarde will start England's final match of the year against Australia at Twickenham today as the home side chase a record-equalling 14th successive Test win.

In the only changes to the matchday 23 that defeated Argentina 27-14, Hughes replaces the injured Billy Vunipola at number eight and Yarde fills the vacancy left by Elliot Daly's three-week suspension.

Vunipola is in danger of missing the entire RBS 6 Nations after undergoing knee surgery, while Daly was shown a red card against the Pumas for a dangerous tackle.

"Nathan is a strong runner and will provide go-forward," head coach Eddie Jones said.

"I like one winger with pace, which is Jonny May, and one with work rate, so Marland will work hard for us," added the Aussie.

Hughes will make his full debut after earning his first two caps in the victories over South Africa and Fiji earlier this autumn.

The explosive 25-year-old has recovered from the foot problem that forced him to miss the visit of Argentina to provide England's main ball-carrying threat in the forwards.

He has made an encouraging start to his Test career, but in covering for the rampaging Vunipola he faces one of the biggest asks in world rugby and is the closest example of a like-for-like replacement that the Grand Slam champions have.

Yarde is chosen ahead of Semesa Rokoduguni to make his second appearance of the autumn with May switching to the left wing.

England are seeking to register a record-equalling 14th successive Test win - a mark set by Sir Clive Woodward's World Cup winners in 2002-03 - by toppling Australia.

Victory would also post a fourth consecutive triumph against the Wallabies following a 3-0 series whitewash Down Under.

"Australia have improved significantly since we last played them," Jones said.

"The enduring feature of Australian rugby is their cleverness. They look like they are doing one thing and then they do the other.

"They have got some quite clever two-phase variation plays and we are going to need to be on our guard.

"They played very deep and a long way from the gain line against us in June, now they are really flattening up. They've really got their attack together."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph