George and Tuilagi call ceasefire in coffee war and unite for England duty
Jamie George and Manu Tuilagi will call a ceasefire in their coffee war and unite to try to bring England to the boil.
The pair have been given key roles against Australia in a team which could soon be renamed the Flat Whites.
George deposes co-captain Dylan Hartley at hooker and Tuilagi, last capped two and a half years ago, is named on the bench and handed a key ‘finisher’ role.
George has long been the go-to guy for coffee inside England’s training camp, along with fullback Elliot Daly providing a barista service for team mates in their room.
But Tuilagi’s long-awaited return to the squad, complete with his own coffee machine, has led to what George described as a “fierce” rivalry.
“Manu’s only had his coffee machine here for a week, so read into that what you will,” scoffed the Saracens star, who starts ahead of a fully-fit Hartley against a major nation for the first time.
But captain Owen Farrell admitted to going to Tuilagi for his caffeine hits.
“There are a couple of shops going (in camp) now," he said. "Manu is as good as any barista I’ve seen."
Tuilagi’s pre-eminence extends to the pool hall where, according to Farrell, he has been “skinning” everyone – “playing rubbish in the morning, then taking everyone’s money at night!”
Eddie Jones agreed the Leicester centre is “king of the pool table”, then challenged him to “do the simple things well” on the green surface of Twickenham.
“Good straight hard running, good hard low tackling, work off the ball,” said the boss. “That’s all we want to see from him.”
Jones has opted for a powerful line-up with hard-running duo Joe Cokanasiga and Ben Te’o also capable of mass destruction.
The Australian has already won the mind game, correctly predicting his homeland would pick star forward David Pocock in spite of a neck injury concern.
"I wouldn’t say he’s fully fit," admitted Wallabies boss Michael Cheika. "I would rather be fair and square. He is hurting but desperate to play."
ENGLAND: Daly; Cokanasiga, Slade, Te’o, May; Farrell (co-capt), Youngs; Moon, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Lawes, Shields, Underhill, Wilson.
Replacements: Hartley (co-capt), Hepburn, Williams, Ewels, Hughes, Wigglesworth, Ford, Tuilagi
AUSTRALIA: Folau; Haylett-Petty, Kerevi, Foley, Maddocks; To’omua, Genia; Sio, Latu, Kepu, Rodda, Coleman, Dempsey, Hooper (capt), Pocock.
Replacements: Polota-Nafu, Ainsley, Alaalatoa, Simmons, Hanigan, Samu, Phipps, Naivalu
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