Saints star Lawes starts for England against Japan

Courtney Lawes will start for England on Saturday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Courtney Lawes will start for England on Saturday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Courtney Lawes will start for the first time in this year's autumn international campaign as England take on Japan at Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Lawes came off the bench in the defeat to New Zealand last weekend, having missed the clash with South Africa due to a back injury.

But he is in from the off against Japan, starting at six, with Charlie Ewels and Maro Itoje starting in the second row.

Saints and England co-captain Dylan Hartley will be on the bench, with Jamie George coming in at hooker.

England boss Eddie Jones said: “Japan is an important game for us as we want to get back to winning ways.

"We have also tested ourselves in having a shorter preparation.

"We gave the players two days off after three weeks of intensive work.

"We have had a short preparation but a good preparation.

“This weekend is a good opportunity for us to test the depth of the squad.

"A number of players have changed their roles going from finishers to starters and starters to finishers so that is the essential change to the squad.

"It is exciting to be able to give starting opportunities to Zach Mercer and Joe Cokanasiga and young Ted Hill on the bench.

“We are expecting plenty of energy, aggression and fast ball movement from Japan.

"They will be full of surprises, quick taps, lineouts and plays.

"They are going to have a bag of magic.

“Last week the fans were absolutely exceptional in the atmosphere they created for the players.

"It was the best I have seen and we are looking forward to more of that on Saturday.”

England: Daly; Cokanasiga, Nowell, Lozowski, Ashton; Ford (c), Care; Hepburn, George, Williams; Ewels, Itoje; Lawes, Wilson, Mercer.

Replacements: Hartley, Moon, Sinckler, Hill, Underhill, Wigglesworth, Farrell, Slade.