Simmons set for first England start with Hughes out

Simmons set for first England start with Hughes out
Simmons set for first England start with Hughes out

By Chris Jones

On Events Radio 5 live rugby reporter

Sam Simmonds' two previous appearances from England have come off the bench
Autumn internationals: England v Samoa
Venue: Twickenham Date: 25 November Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on Eyes On Events Radio 5 live sports extra and the Eyes On Events

Exeter forward Sam Simmonds is set to start for England for the first time, with Nathan Hughes out of Saturday's match against Samoa with a knee injury.

Wasps back row Hughes has bruising in his right knee joint and will be sidelined for up to four weeks.

That means Simmonds, 23, is likely to start at number eight in only his third international appearance.

Backs Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph are among those to have been left out of the 25-man squad.

Simmonds won his first cap against Argentina earlier this month, then came off the bench in the 30-6 victory over Australia.

He looks set to form a back-row combination with Chris Robshaw and Maro Itoje, who have both been retained.

Bath's Charlie Ewels is also likely to make a rare start, while rookie Saracens lock Nick Isiekwe should also feature.

Prop Ellis Genge may also return to the matchday squad, especially if head coach Eddie Jones decides to rest starting loose-head Mako Vunipola.

With Joseph returning to Bath, Alex Lozowski is poised to come into the midfield, with Henry Slade and Piers Francis also options in the centre.

After recovering from concussion, Mike Brown is set to return at full-back.

Retained players:

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Danny Care (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Forwards: Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs).

Players released back to their clubs: Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby), Nathan Hughes (Wasps). Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), George Kruis (Saracens), Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby).

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