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Owen Farrell finally gets to run the show as England dig deep for options

• Jones keen to see how co-captain plays with bigger centres
• Coach forced to pick a callow pack to face South Africa

The opening autumn fixture against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday will, if nothing else, reveal the extent of English rugby’s strength in depth. Eddie Jones has picked thousands of sides in his time but with more than 400 high?profile caps unavailable up front alone, he cannot recall ever digging deeper for victory at the top level.

In addition to England’s obvious shortage of hard-bitten Test experience up front and on the bench, it is also among the most significant team-sheets of Jones’s tenure in other areas. The ditching of George Ford and the deployment of Owen Farrell at No 10, another new midfield combination, a tantalising back three and the dawn of the co-captain era are all acknowledgements something fresh is needed to steer the good ship England away from jagged rocks.

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