England v Tonga: Manu Tuilagi to play international rugby for first time since March 2020

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Manu Tuilagi and Owen Farrell were England's 12 and 10 respectively during their 2019 World Cup quarterfinal victory against Australia

Autumn Nations Series: England and Tonga Date: Saturday 6 November Kick-off at 15:15 GMT. Live text commentary available on the BBC Sport app.

Centre Manu Tuilagi, captain Owen Farrell and centre manu will be making their first England appearances since March 2020.

Marcus Smith, Harlequins number 10, is currently on the bench after sustaining a leg injury.

Freddie Steward wins his third cap as a full-back while Adam Radwan is back on the right wing.

Due to the positive test of a support staff member for Covid-19, the team announcement was delayed.

A further round of lateral flow testing was not performed by anyone else. PCR results are due Friday morning.

A RFU statement released earlier Thursday stated that the team and staff were following all Covid protocols. "A training session will be held later this morning," he added.

After Raffi Quirke from Bristol and Harry Randall from England, two of England's injured backlines were ravaged by injuries, Alex Mitchell, Northampton scrum half will make his debut.

Eddie Jones, the head coach of England, wanted Smith and Farrell to play together at 10/12. However, Farrell will now partner Tuilagi with Henry Slade as outside centre.

Along with Jamie George, props Ellis Genge (left) and Kyle Sinckler (right) start in the front row. Jones stated that the presence of Tonga props Siegfried Fsi'ihoi (and Ben Tameifuna) meant England would have to enter the front door first.

Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, and Tom Curry start in the eighth row. Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, and Alex Dombrandt are the flankers.

Vice-captains have been appointed for the Autumn Nation Series opener at Twickenham by Curry, Lawes, and Genge.

Jones expressed his respect for Tonga, referring to Saturday's opponents. There are games against Australia and South Africa.

"We are especially looking forward getting back out in front a full crowd at Twickenham to play some exciting, entertaining rugby for all the supporters - it's a great opportunity - we can't WAIT to have them back!"

Lopeti Timani (Australian, winner of 12 caps) makes his Tonga debut as a blind-side flanker for the visitors. He qualified because he had previously represented Australia in sevens.

Tuilagi is back in the familiar midfield

Eddie Jones had reorganized his team for the autumn internationals, keeping the 2023 World Cup in view after England's fifth place in 2021 Six Nations.

Smith is unable to train due to injury so a familiar midfield of Farrell and Tuilagi will be on the field against Tonga.

England has enjoyed a lot of success with Tuilagi fit, including a run in the 2019 World Cup final. However, the 30-year old has sustained multiple injuries throughout his career.

Tuilagi was summoned to the England camp during the summer but was forced to leave two days later due to a hamstring problem.

After an eight-month layoff due to a torn Achilles, he returned to work in May. However, he had previously been on the sidelines for long periods of time because of a ruptured pectoral muscle and repeated groin injuries.

England: Steward; Radwan, Slade, Tuilagi, May; Farrell (capt), Youngs; Genge, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Hill, Lawes, Underhill, Curry.

Blamire and Marler, Stuart, Ewels and Dombrandt are all available as replacements.

Tonga: Veainu; W Fifita, Hingano, Taumoepeau, Kata; Morath, Takulua (capt); Fisi'ihoi, Ngauamo, Tameifuna, H Fifita, Halaifonua, Timani, Kafatolu, Vailanu.

Replacements: Maile, Uhila, Fia, Funaki, Havili, Fukofuka, Faiva, Fine.