Winds of change blow as Jones selects England squad fans have been craving

The winds of change are finally rustling the palm trees beside the nearby Swan River. Not only will Courtney Lawes lead England into Saturday’s first Test against Australia in preference to Owen Farrell but Eddie Jones has also parachuted three experimental new caps into his matchday 23. It is as significant a cabinet reshuffle as English rugby has undergone for a while.

Most strikingly of all it is a development that has, according to his head coach, left Farrell “very unhappy”. Normally in these situations the deposed captain swallows his disappointment and there is diplomatic talk of smooth, orderly transitions. Not this time. If anything, to use the Australian vernacular, it seems that Farrell has spat the dummy and is totally spewing.

The party line is that England are trying to take some pressure off the 30-year-old Saracen in an effort to help him recapture his best Test form. Maybe it will bear fruit but the knock-on effects could prove considerable. Barring a major U-turn someone else will now lead England at next year’s World Cup with Farrell no longer seen by the management as first among equals.

If, to some extent, the decision has been partially prompted by Farrell missing the entire Six Nations following ankle surgery it would have been easy enough to reunite him with the armband for this tour given that, in his absence, England did not collectively pull up many trees with Lawes in charge. Instead Jones has gone the other way and left a dismayed Farrell – “I Fought the Lawes and the Lawes Won” – humming along to The Clash.

Maybe the recent changing of the guard in English cricket – and Joe Root’s subsequent mountain of runs – has helped to sway Jones. Or could it be belated acceptance that Farrell can be too hot-blooded a competitor either to charm referees or deliver the clarity of guidance that top-level rugby now demands. Or the fact that if Marcus Smith is to mature into England’s guiding star at 10 it might help to tweak the captaincy dynamic.

Or might Jones have taken an overdue deep breath, surveyed the pot-holed landscape, listened to one or two experts in the field of leadership and belatedly acknowledged that, without some kind of jolt, England will not deliver the game’s biggest prize next year. Either way he has come up with a rebooted selection that many English fans have long been craving: the best available dry-aged English beef with a tantalising dash of mystery sauce.

No longer do people have to scratch their heads and wonder why Billy Vunipola and Danny Care, so effective for their clubs, are not involved. Or what difference it might make if the Quins’ half-back pairing of Care and Smith play together. Or what damage a fully fit Joe Cokanasiga and Jack Nowell could do.

Moreover, when did England last name three uncapped backs on the bench for a major Test in the southern hemisphere? Ignore the captaincy debate and the promotion of Henry Arundell, in particular, to the England bench is a Boy’s Own dream on its own. The so-called “apprentice” has played just a handful of games for London Irish but the rare talent revealed in his stunning length-of-the-field try against Toulon in May is clearly too much even for Jones to ignore.

L-plates or not, the 19-year-old’s elusive pace has been so electric in practice there is genuine belief it could soon unsettle almost any team in the world. “We’ve got these young guys coming through who are doing things at training we haven’t seen before,” said Jones. “Henry scored a 90m try at training on Wednesday that not many other players in the world would have scored. It was like a try Bryan Habana used to score. He could be a very good player.”

His teammates have also been impressed – “He’s a proper rock star, isn’t he?” reported the lock Jonny Hill – with Jones having equally little hesitation in adding the Leicester pair of Jack van Poortvliet, 21, and the former Sydney University captain Guy Porter to the matchday mix. Harry Randall has been entirely omitted from the 23 while Bath’s Charlie Ewels suffered a serious knee ligament injury in midweek training and will now be replaced in the squad by Bristol’s Sam Jeffries.

It all further raises the stakes ahead of a pivotal series for both sides. The Wallabies have picked a deliberately strong pack, including their oldest debutant for 23 years in the 33-year-old Brumbies lock Cadeyrn Neville. The uncapped hooker Dave Porecki has also been promoted after career-enhancing stints at Saracens and London Irish. Australia may have lost eight times in a row against a Jones-led England but have lost just one of their last eight Tests in Western Australia since 2010. This weekend’s contest could yet prove the most fascinating of the lot.