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England name Yarde in starting line-up

Marland Yarde will start. Credit: PA

England have named Marland Yarde on the right wing and Nathan Hughes at number eight for Saturday's match against Australia at Twickenham, the Rugby Football Union has announced.


Vunipola passed fit to face Fiji at Twickenham

Billy Vunipola will play for England against Fiji. Credit: PA

England number eight Billy Vunipola has been passed fit to start Saturday's clash with Fiji at Twickenham.

Vunipola has been unable to train fully this week due to an injury described by the Grand Slam champions as 'upper body soreness' and he missed Thursday's final session.

However, the Saracen has been cleared to start in a back row that sees Teimana Harrison displace Tom Wood at openside in the only change to the pack that subdued South Africa 37-21 last weekend.

All three of the injury doubts that delayed England's team announcement until Friday morning have been cleared to participate in the second autumn international.

Elliot Daly has overcome his 'upper body injury' to start on the left wing, enabling Jonathan Joseph to return at outside centre, and Nathan Hughes has recovered from a 'lower leg injury' to supply back row cover on the bench.

The final two changes to the team that toppled the Springboks see Semesa Rokoduguni replace Marland Yarde on the right wing and Alex Goode preferred to Mike Brown at full-back.

Team to face Fiji:

A Goode (Saracens); S Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), J Joseph (Bath Rugby), O Farrell (Saracens), E Daly (Wasps); G Ford (Bath Rugby), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers); M Vunipola (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton Saints, capt), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), C Robshaw (Harlequins), T Harrison (Northampton Saints), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: J George (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), C Ewels (Bath Rugby), N Hughes (Wasps), D Care (Harlequins), B Te'o (Worcester Warriors), H Slade (Exeter Chiefs).

England delay naming team to give trio chance to be fit

England will name their side on Friday morning. Credit: PA

England have delayed naming their team for their clash with Fiji until Friday morning to give Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes and Elliot Daly every chance to prove their fitness.

Vunipola has upper body soreness, Hughes is struggling with a lower leg injury and Daly has an upper body injury and a decision has yet to be reached on their availability for the second autumn international at Twickenham on Saturday.

"There are a few injury concerns which we're sorting through at the moment. We're announcing the team on Friday," head coach Eddie Jones said.

Teams have traditionally been named 48 hours before kick-off but England have not broken any regulations in postponing until the eve of the match.

Liam Neeson to help Ireland's World Cup bid

Liam Neeson waived any potential fee for the promotional video. Credit: PA

Hollywood star Liam Neeson will help Ireland ratchet up their all-out charm offensive bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023 in Dublin on Tuesday.

Irish movie actor Neeson has narrated a video entitled "Ready For The World" that the 2023 World Cup bid team will debut at Tuesday's bid unveiling at the Aviva Stadium.

"Taken" star Neeson has voiced the video free of charge, lending his celebrity weight to Ireland's increasingly high-profile bid to stage rugby's global contest in seven years' time.

An Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) spokesman confirmed to Press Association Sport that actor Neeson had waived any potential fee for the promotional video, in a clear early boost to Ireland's bid.

Ireland will reveal detailed logistics and plans for their £100million bid at Tuesday's press conference, outlining potential venues and anticipated tourism and financial benefits of hosting the competition.

Ireland are battling it out with South Africa and France for the chance to stage the World Cup in seven years' time.

The IRFU has joined forces with the two Irish governments to build a bid that will run to at least £100million.

Global governing body World Rugby will decide the 2023 competition's destination in November 2017 - and Ireland are comfortably the first of the three competing nations to map out their detailed hosting plans.


England stars agree new four-year deals with RFU

England's players have agreed a new four-year elite player squad deal with the Rugby Football Union that includes the provision of match fees.

The terms of the arrangement, which were negotiated by the Rugby Players Association with Red Rose captain Dylan Hartley also involved, include an individual match fee believed to be worth £22,000 per Test.

Among the areas covered are training fees, image rights payments and squad performance bonuses in a deal thought to be worth £20million over the four years.

It's good news for the England team. Credit: PA

"These are exciting times for English Rugby, and the deal offers a significant uplift from the previous deal," Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie said.

"We are delighted to have finalised a four-year agreement with the players ahead of the first test in the Old Mutual Wealth Series tomorrow.

"We would like to thank the RPA for their positive and constructive contribution to the new deal."

Wasps centre Daly to make first England start

Elliot Daly will play at centre. Credit: PA

England have named Elliot Daly in place of Jonathan Joseph at outside centre for Saturday's autumn opener against South Africa at Twickenham.

Daly makes his full Test debut after winning five caps as a replacement, forming a new midfield partnership alongside Owen Farrell that offers long-range left and right-footed kicking options.

It is the first time Joseph, a veteran of 25 internationals, has been dropped since establishing himself during the 2015 RBS 6 Nations and he drops to the bench to provide centre and wing cover.

Mako Vunipola among world's best - Hatley

Mako Vunipola has started the season well. Credit: PA

England scrum coach Neal Hatley insists Mako Vunipola's rapid set-piece improvement has transformed him into the complete player.

Alex Corbisiero, a distinguished predecessor in the Red Rose number one jersey, has acclaimed Vunipola as the best loosehead in world rugby on the strength of a rampaging start to the season at Saracens.

While the impact in open play of England's form player has never been doubt, his scrummaging was considered a potential weakness until the recent progress brought about by a technical adjustment.

"Mako has been absolutely outstanding for Saracens in the first half of the season," Hatley said.

"There aren't many props in world rugby that can do what he does with the ball in hand.

"His set piece has come on immeasurably. Sometimes people get pigeon-holed as a carrying prop or a scrummaging prop and I think he crosses that divide.

"He's been very sound from a set-piece point of view. We've made a few little technical changes to his bind and that's had a real positive effect.

"There are a lot of good players around, but he's definitely getting there in terms of being the best loosehead in the world. If Corbs said that, it's a pretty good endorsement."

England trio named on shortlist for major rugby award

Mario Itoje is on the shortlist. Credit: PA

England trio Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola feature on a six-strong shortlist for World Rugby men's player of the year for 2016.

Also included among the nominees is Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip, who started Saturday's historic 40-29 victory over New Zealand in Chicago.

Completing the list of contenders are All Blacks Dane Coles and Beauden Barrett, with the winner to be announced on Sunday.

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