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No Bath Rugby Players Make England Starting XV to Play South Africa

England head coach Eddie Jones has not picked any Bath Rugby players to start against South Africa.

Zach Mercer, the only specialist number eight in the squad, will have to come off the bench at Twickenham debut with Newcastle Falcons’ Mark Wilson wearing the starting shirt.

Mercer and Elliot Stooke played a non-cap game against Barbarians in May.

Charlie Ewels is amongst the replacements as Saracens duo Maro Itoje and George Kruis start in the second row.

Elliott Stooke will be a match day reserve for the Test which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday. Former Bath fly-half George Ford is on the bench, with co-captain Owen Farrell preferred at ten.

Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi is also a replacement; having last played for England against Wales in the 2016 Six Nations.

Speaking from Portugal, where England have been training for the past week, Jones said: “We’ve become very well organised in our set-piece and have done a lot of good work in Portugal over the last week.

“We have put in a new defence system and our attack looks more organised than it was on the South Africa tour.

“We need to find ways to gain momentum, then once we find momentum, convert that to points.”

Francois Louw was not eligible to play for the Springboks because the match is being played outside the designated international Test window.

England will host New Zealand on October 10, Japan on October 17 and Australia on October 24.

 

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