Mako Vunipola Eddie Jones showing his strongest hand against Argentina

Mako Vunipola These plug-ins are fancy.

Eddie Jones has resisted the temptation to restore the fit-again Mako Vunipola and Jack Nowell into his starting XV to face Argentina on Saturday but both are set to make their comebacks from the bench.

Henry Slade is also among the replacements with Jones reverting to the XV which beat Tonga in England’s opener, with the exception of George Kruis coming in for Courtney Lawes, and making nine changes to the side which beat the USA.

Argentina represent England’s first major challenge of the World Cup and as a result this can be considered as Jones showing his strongest hand. During the Six Nations his preferred midfield trio was Owen Farrell at outhalf with Manu Tuilagi and Slade outside him. Slade’s knee injury has been untimely but Jones has now settled on George Ford, Farrell, who resumes the captaincy, and Tuilagi as his preferred midfield. This is the third time they start together as a trio, having done so to impressive effect against Ireland in the warm-up series and Tonga previously.

Up front, Joe Marler starts at loosehead with Mako Vunipola set to make his second comeback from the hamstring injury he suffered in May’s Champions Cup final from the replacements bench. His first was against Ireland in August but he lasted just a few minutes before hobbling off again. Nowell meanwhile, has not played at all since suffering a knee injury in the Premiership final but before England flew to Japan, Jones had this match in mind for both he and Vunipola to make their comebacks and like Slade both are set for their first taste of action in Japan.

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