England v South Africa: Northampton's Tom Wood set for first international in a year

Billy Vunipola, left, Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood, right, in England training on Tuesday
From left: Billy Vunipola, Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood are set to form England's back row on Saturday
Old Mutual Wealth Series: England v South Africa
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 12 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live with highlights on BBC Two (19:30)

Northampton's Tom Wood is set to make his first England appearance in over a year after being named in the 25-man squad preparing for Saturday's Test against South Africa at Twickenham.

It is understood he will start at open-side flanker, with Chris Robshaw and Billy Vunipola completing the back row.

Jonny May will also feature for the first time under boss Eddie Jones.

May will start on one wing and Marland Yarde on the other, with Semesa Rokoduguni missing out.

Courtney Lawes has proved his fitness and is set to start in the second row alongside Joe Launchbury, with Dave Attwood on the bench.

There are also four uncapped players - Nathan Hughes, Josh Beaumont, Ben Te'o and Kyle Sinckler - in the squad.

England, looking for their first win against the Springboks in 12 fixtures spanning a decade, will confirm their starting XV and replacements on Thursday morning, with two players - including one of Hughes, Beaumont and Te'o - set to be trimmed from the squad named on Tuesday.

Harlequins prop Sinckler is certain of a spot on the bench as back-up tight-head prop to starter Dan Cole.

Which of the remaining uncapped trio misses out depends on whether England go with a five-three or six-two forwards/backs split on the bench, while hooker Tommy Taylor is expected to be the other man to be cut.

After facing South Africa, England continue their series of autumn internationals against Fiji, Argentina and Australia on consecutive Saturdays.

England head coach Eddie Jones described Wood as "distinctly average" after last autumn's World Cup, but has turned to the 30-year-old, who has won 42 caps, following injuries to back row contenders James Haskell, Maro Itoje, Jack Clifford, Sam Jones and Mike Williams.

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Tom Wood spoke to the BBC last week about being called 'distinctly average'

The last time England fielded Saturday's expected starting back row of Robshaw, Wood and Vunipola was in the 28-25 World Cup defeat by Wales in September last year.

The trio also started the last time England met South Africa, the 31-28 loss in 2014, although on both occasions Wood was at blind-side flanker and Robshaw at open-side - the reverse of how it is understood they will line up to face the Boks at Twickenham.

England squad to face South Africa

Forwards: Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks), Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Tommy Taylor (Wasps), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints).

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

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