Hartley on England bench for Samoa

Nov 24, 2017 - 4:39 AM England will take on Samoa without their captain Dylan Hartley for the first time in a Test under coach Eddie Jones.

Hartley has been selected on the bench as Jamie George, first choice hooker during the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, makes his full debut as one of nine changes to the XV that toppled Australia 30-6.

George Ford and Chris Robshaw will co-captain England in Hartley's absence.

Injuries to Nathan Hughes and Sam Underhill have resulted in a stopgap back row that sees Robshaw make his first start at openside since former Wallabies boss Jones took over in 2015, Sam Simmonds given his full debut at No.8 and Maro Itoje slot in at No.6.

"Chris will play the way he plays every week and that's being absolutely selfless for the team," Jones said.

"He'll make his tackles, go for the ball, get back up after the Samoans make a line break and he'll just keep working. There'll be no changes despite the number on his back."

Ellis Genge starts at loosehead prop as Mako Vunipola misses out on the 23 altogether and George is finally given his chance to impress right from the start.

Joe Launchbury survives but Courtney Lawes is on the bench after Charlie Ewels was given his spot in the second row.

Behind the scrum, Danny Care displaces Ben Youngs at halfback and Mike Brown returns at fullback after recovering from concussion, forming a back three with the retained Jonny May and Elliot Daly.

Owen Farrell is rested and does not even feature on the bench, allowing a new centre partnership of Alex Lozowski and Henry Slade.

Jones views the clash with Samoa as an opportunity to test the depth of the squad.

"We have a four-day turnaround in the World Cup and this game is a fantastic dress rehearsal for that," Australian Jones said.

Source: AAP

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