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Australia v England: Courtney Lawes to captain tourists as Danny Care and Billy Vunipola return

Courtney Lawes playing for England
Courtney Lawes captained England during the 2022 Six Nations
Venue: Perth Stadium, Australia Date: Saturday, 2 July Kick-off: 10:55 BST
Coverage: Follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Courtney Lawes will captain England in Saturday’s first Test against Australia, as veterans Danny Care and Billy Vunipola also start.

Lawes leads the side in Perth ahead of ex-skipper Owen Farrell, who is back at inside centre following injury.

Scrum-half Care will win his first cap in almost four years, while number eight Vunipola’s brother Mako is among the replacements.

Marcus Smith starts at 10 and uncapped wing Henry Arundell is on the bench.

The teenager is one of three uncapped players among the replacements, along with Jack van Poortvliet and Guy Porter.

Farrell is overlooked as captain by head coach Eddie Jones for the first time since 2018, with Lawes having taken on the role last autumn and in the 2022 Six Nations.

Having recovered from recent ankle injuries, Farrell will play alongside outside centre Joe Marchant.

Joe Cokanasiga will play his first Test for a year on the left wing following injury and Covid-19, while Van Poortvliet’s inclusion means there is no place in the matchday 23 for Harry Randall.

Earlier on Thursday, lock Charlie Ewels was ruled out of the tour because of a knee injury and will be replaced by Bristol’s Sam Jeffries.

England team to face Australia: Steward; Nowell, Marchant, Farrell, Cokanasiga; Smith, Care; Genge, George, Stuart, Itoje, Hill, Lawes (capt), Curry, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, M Vunipola, Heyes, Chessum, Ludlam, Van Poortlviet, Porter, Arundell.

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