England make one change for Autumn Nations Cup final against a second-string France with Anthony Watson replacing the injured Jonathan Joseph as Twickenham welcomes back 2,000 fans… and 400 tickets are gifted to local NHS workers
- England face France in the Autumn Nations Cup final on Saturday at Twickenham
- Anthony Watson is on the wing for England as Jonathan Joseph has a calf injury
- Joe Marchant is among the replacements with Jack Willis dropped completely
- As London is in tier two, Twickenham can welcome 2,000 fans for the showpiece
- The RFU announced that 20 per cent of the tickets have been given to NHS staff
England winger Anthony Watson will make his first start of the Autumn Nations Cup in Sunday’s final against France as Twickenham gears up for the return of supporters – with 2,000 fans set to watch the spectacle and 400 of those being gifted to local NHS workers.
The Lions star is the only change to Eddie Jones’ starting XV, stepping in to replace the injured Jonathan Joseph.
With London now in tier two, following the easing of the UK’s coronavirus restrictions, Twickenham will finally be able to host England fans for the first time since March 7. And in a show of support towards the NHS, the RFU have allocated 20 per cent of their 2,000 tickets to local NHS workers.
Anthony Watson will be starting on the wing for England in the Autumn Nations Cup final
Watson will form part of an exciting England back three alongside Jonny May and Elliot Daly
Watson injured his ankle in last month’s Six Nations finale against Italy, before making his comeback from the bench against Wales.
‘We’re really looking forward to this final, playing France and having another chance to win a trophy this autumn,’ said Jones.
‘We’d like to congratulate the tournament organisers on putting this on in difficult circumstances.
‘Over the past two months the players have put in real effort, worked very hard on and off the pitch and have met the protocols and new ways of working.
‘This has been another positive learning week with tough, hard training and we’re looking forward to getting on the pitch in front of our fans and playing a good game of rugby.’
In his final Test of 2020, Jones has reverted to a bench split of five forwards and three backs.
Watson replaces the injured Jonathan Joseph (left) who is out with a calf problem
Eddie Jones is looking to end England’s 2020 on a high with victory in the final against France
Centre Joe Marchant has been drafted into the replacements, with flanker Jack Willis left out of the squad.
Watson will complete the back-three alongside Elliot Daly and Jonny May, while Owen Farrell and Henry Slade continue in midfield.
No 10 George Ford will once against try to spark England’s attack into life, with the help of familiar scrum-half Ben Youngs.
The pack remains unchanged.
Billy Vunipola will make his 50th England start at No 8, in between flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill.
Maro Itoje and Joe Launchbury maintain their second-row partnership, with Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler named in the front-row.
The ever-impressive Maro Itoje starts in the second row for England alongside Joe Launchbury
ENGLAND TEAM TO FACE FRANCE
England XV: 15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 46 caps), 14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 45 caps), 13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps), 12. Owen Farrell (C) (Saracens, 86 caps), 11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 60 caps), 10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 71 caps), 9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 103 caps); 1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 63 caps), 2. Jamie George (Saracens, 53 caps), 3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 39 caps), 4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 42 caps), 5. Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 68 caps), 6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 27 caps), 7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 21 caps), 8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 55 caps).
Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 25 caps), 17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps), 18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 7 caps), 19. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 3 caps), 20. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 7 caps), 21. Dan Robson (Wasps, 6 caps), 22. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 2 caps), 23. Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 4 caps).