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England to debut wing Cokanasiga against Japan

November 15, 2018

LONDON (AP) — Fiji-born winger Joe Cokanasiga will make his England debut against Japan on Saturday among 11 changes for the test at Twickenham.

Cokanasiga was picked on Thursday, his 21st birthday. He moved to England when he was three, following his British Army father.

Only lock Maro Itoje, flanker Mark Wilson, wing Chris Ashton and fullback Elliot Daly are retained as starters after the 16-15 loss to New Zealand last weekend.

There’s a new front row featuring Exeter duo Alec Hepburn and Harry Williams, Courtney Lawes is on the blindside flank, and Zach Mercer has a second cap at No. 8.

Flyhalf George Ford will captain the side in his 50th test, sharing the halves with Danny Care. Alex Lozowski and Jack Nowell are the new centers.

The reserves include regular co-captains Dylan Hartley and Owen Farrell, and other starters against the All Blacks in Ben Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Sam Underhill, and Henry Slade. Worcester flanker Ted Hill could make his debut.

“We are expecting plenty of energy, aggression and fast ball movement,” coach Eddie Jones said of the test. “They will be full of surprises, quick taps, lineouts and plays. They are going to have a bag of magic.”

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England: Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga, Jack Nowell, Alex Lozowski, Chris Ashton, George Ford (captain), Danny Care; Zach Mercer, Mark Wilson, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels, Harry Williams, Jamie George, Alec Hepburn. Reserves: Dylan Hartley, Ben Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Ted Hill, Sam Underhill, Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell, Henry Slade.

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