Rugby World Cup 2019: Kiwi Willi Heinz handed vice-captain role on England debut against Wales

Willi Heinz will make his England debut against Wales on Monday (NZ time) and is immediately installed as vice-captain despite his lack of test experience.

The New Zealand-born 32-year-old has been given the stage to prove he deserves a place at this autumn's World Cup after being picked as the starting halfback for the warm-up test at Twickenham.

Ben Youngs, England's first choice in the position, is included on the bench for a game that takes place 24 hours before Eddie Jones finalises his 31-man squad for Japan 2019.

Also winning his first cap is Ruaridh McConnochie, the Bath wing who followed up a fine spell in sevens with a strong finish to the 2018-19 Gallagher Premiership season.

Owen Farrell misses out altogether so George Ford starts at five-eighth and is also named captain of a side that contains 377 caps.

Piers Francis profits from Ben Te'o's unexpected absence from the training squad for Wales by winning his fourth cap in a centre partnership alongside Henry Slade.

Meanwhile, captain and lock Alun Wyn Jones will become Wales' most capped player when he makes his 135th Test match appearance - 126 for Wales and nine in British and Irish Lions colours - to overtake prop Gethin Jenkins.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has named a team that includes 13 starters from the Six Nations title and Grand Slam-clinching victory over Ireland in March.

The only players who did not feature in the starting XV against Ireland that run out at Twickenham are prop Nicky Smith and flanker Aaron Wainwright.

Gatland parades a side that includes the likes of established stars such as Jones, fullback Liam Williams, wing George North, centre Jonathan Davies and flanker Justin Tipuric.

The New Zealander is currently overseeing a 41-man training group before cutting that number by 10 and announcing his final World Cup squad on September 1.


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