Eddie Jones is not messing about now it’s time to put the best fighting trousers on and he has thrown is first fifteen out to face this opening challenge. In doing so, he has confirmed that whatever he said and whatever he did, he didn’t mean it and the Ford-Farrell axis at 10-12 is back for good. Courtney Lawes starts ahead of Kruis in the boilerhouse, which gives away just how physical Eddie expects this encounter to be. Joe Cokanasiga, a regular starter in the warm-ups, is not in the 23, with Jones preferring the craft and versatility of Slade & Joseph as the backs options off the bench rather than the big winger’s blunt force trauma.
Tonga have plenty of experience and ability in their ranks. Out-half Kurt Morath of Doncaster Knights orchestrated the aforementioned win against France in 2011 and the captain Siale Piutau, Cooper Vuna, scrumhalf Sonatane Takulua and flanker Sione Kalamafoni all have experience at the top level of club rugby. Adding more experience and some significant bulk to this is the 24 stone Racing 92 prop Ben Tameifuna. This team will literally be no pushover.
England: Daly; Watson, Tuilagi, Farrell (c), May; Ford, Youngs; Marler, George, Sinckler, Lawes, Itoje, Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Cole, Kruis, Ludlam, Heinz, Slade, Joseph
Tonga: Halaifonua; Pakalani, Piutau (c), Vuna, Lolohea; Morath, Takulua; Fisiihoi, Sakalia, Tameifuna, Lousi, Fifita, Kalamafoni, Kapeli, Vaipula
Replacements: Maile, Talakai, Fia, Faleafa, Manu, Fukofuka, Faiva, Tu’itavake