MX23RW : Thursday, November 15 14:41:39

Ashton to make first England start in four years against New Zealand

Ashton to make first England start in four years against New Zealand
© Reuters
The 31-year-old will lines up on the right wing in place of Jack Nowell.

Chris Ashton makes his first England start for four years as one of three changes for Saturday’s long-awaited clash with New Zealand at Twickenham.

Ashton lines-up on the right wing in place of Jack Nowell after impressing during his 15-minute spell as a substitute in the 12-11 victory over South Africa that opened the Quilter Internationals.

The 31-year-old has amassed 40 caps in an international career interrupted by suspension, falling out of favour with successive England coaches and a season-long spell in Toulon.

Nowell drops to the bench but there is no place for Manu Tuilagi despite his recovery from the groin strain that ruled him out against the Springboks.

The two other changes see Ben Moon come in for Alec Hepburn at loosehead prop and Sam Underhill replaces Tom Curry, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the autumn by an ankle injury.

Courtney Lawes returns to the bench after overcoming a lower back problem, forcing Zach Mercer out of the matchday 23.

Owen Farrell co-captains the team alongside Dylan Hartley and needs only one more point to reach 700 for England.

England v South Africa – Autumn International – Twickenham Stadium
England coach Eddie Jones has made changes against the All Blacks (Adam Davy/PA)

England face New Zealand for the first time in four years and have been installed as heavy underdogs against the world champions.

“The expectation for Saturday is no different to any other Test match,” Eddie Jones said.

We want to be at our best, better than we were in the previous Test match and we want to play with pride and passion which ignites the fan.

“It’s been a good week, the players have recovered well, trained well on Tuesday, exceptionally well on Wednesday and we look forward to the challenge of taking on New Zealand on Saturday.”


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