Daly, Wood, May get starts for England vs South Africa

By STEVE DOUGLAS - AP Sports Writer 11 November 2016, 12:00AM

England gave center Elliot Daly his first test start and recalled Tom Wood and Jonny May after international absences of more than a year for the rugby match against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

While Wood and May were brought back in by coach Eddie Jones largely because of injury problems, Daly got his chance as a reward for consistently strong displays for Wasps in the domestic league and after five appearances as a replacement for England this year.

A swift and elusive runner, Daly brings an excitement factor to England's backline outside his more conservative midfield partner, Owen Farrell. Daly replaced Jonathan Joseph, who has been a permanent fixture for England since Jones took charge after last year's Rugby World Cup.

That tournament, which England hosted and exited in the pool stage, was the last time Wood and May appeared on the international stage and they earned recalls for various reasons.

Wood, whose play was described as "distinctly average" by Jones in January, is back after making necessary adjustments to his game to satisfy the Australian coach and because of an injury crisis at flanker that has robbed Jones of four No. 7s — James Haskell, Jack Clifford, Sam Jones and Mike Williams — as well as potentially another in Maro Itoje.

May has returned to full fitness after a succession of injuries and also benefited from first-choice wingers Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell being out injured. Marland Yarde will be England's other winger.

With Itoje and second-row partner George Kruis also missing because of injury, Jones selected Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes as the locks to set up what should be a physical confrontation with the Springboks' traditionally powerful pack.

Three uncapped players — prop Kyle Sinckler, back-row forward Nathan Hughes and center Ben Te'o — were on the bench as England looks for its first win over South Africa since 2006.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to show how much depth we have in English rugby," Jones said, referring to the team's injury problems. "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.

"Test matches are always about the contest up front and South Africa pride themselves in the set piece, but we'll be ready for the challenge."

England is unbeaten in nine games in 2016 and still hasn't lost under Jones.



Mike Brown, Marland Yarde, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Mako Vunipola. Reserves: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Dave Attwood, Nathan Hughes, Danny Care, Ben Te'o, Jonathan Joseph.

By STEVE DOUGLAS - AP Sports Writer 11 November 2016, 12:00AM

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