Watson handed first England start

November 13, 2014
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Bath back Anthony Watson has been named on the wing for Saturday's Test match with South Africa in the only change to the England side that lost to New Zealand.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster has stuck with largely the same 15 that put in a strong first-half performance against the All Blacks before fading after the interval to lose 24-21.

The only alteration to the team is an enforced one with Bath wing Semesa Rokodunguni unavailable due to the hip injury he sustained on his England debut against New Zealand.

Watson started last week's game on the bench and his place amongst the replacements goes to London Irish wing Marland Yarde.

Watson, 20, has only managed one try for club side Bath so far this season but Lancaster says he has been impressed with his all round game and feels he is ready for his first Test start.

"Anthony has been pushing hard for a while and has been in impressive form for Bath and in training with us," said Lancaster

"It was great that he got on against New Zealand and we feel he is ready to start. Equally, it's good to have Marland back in the match-day 23."

Elsewhere, Second row Courtney Lawes and hooker Dylan Hartley have been cleared to start against the Springboks after both passed tests for concussion.

Flanker Tom Wood has also overcome an injury to keep his place in the starting XV, while Kyle Eastmond is expected to shake off an illness to play at centre again.

England have failed to beat South Africa in their last six encounters but are priced at 8/11 for the win on Saturday, with the tourists 11/10.


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