Sam Simmonds is set to win his first England cap this weekend against Argentina after being called up to the squad in place of flanker Tom Curry, who has been ruled out of the Test after suffering a wrist injury in training on Thursday.
Curry, who only made his debut on the summer tour of Argentina, will not be available for the return clash after injuring his wrist shortly after being selected on the replacements’ bench, and the England camp will not discover the full prognosis on the injury until he returns from hospital where he is having a scan.
Simmonds will return to the Pennyhill Park training base on Thursday afternoon, having travelled back to Exeter earlier in the week after being left out of the squad for the first autumn international.
Jones has also decided to leave out Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell – although the Saracens pair remain in-camp – due to fears over their conditioning, and they will be given at least one weekend off in order to recover from this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour and the immediate return to club rugby.
“We always said we would look at each player individually,” Jones said on Thursday. “See where they’re up to and see what they needed to do. We decided to rest two.”
In Farrell’s absence, Henry Slade will start at inside centre while Courtney Lawes and George Kruis form the second-row, but Jones believes that he has selected his strongest squad available given that Farrell and Itoje were not up for selection in his thinking.
“I’ve picked the best 23 because we want to win this game against Argentina. It’s very simple,” he added. “[Farrell and Itoje] are not in the best 23 at this stage, it’s a simple as that.”
With Farrell absent, fly-half George Ford will assume kicking duties, with 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson again lending his hand – or boot – in training this week to aide England’s quartet of kickers in Farrell, Ford, Slade and Elliot Daly.
England team to face Argentina:
Mike Brown; Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Henry Slade, Elliot Daly; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole; Courtney Lawes, George Kruis; Chris Robshaw, Sam Underhill, Nathan Hughes.
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