Eddie Jones has selected Sale Sharks talisman Tom Curry to captain England in their Six Nations curtain-raiser against Scotland on Saturday.
The British and Irish Lions back-rower will lead a new-look England at Murrayfield, where Sam Simmons has been promoted to a shock start, while recalled Elliot Daly will line up at outside centre.
Marcus Smith will make his Six Nations debut at fly-half with Owen Farrellruled out of the tournament, partnering Leicester Tigers veteran Ben Youngs in the half-back positions.
Youngs will win his 113th England cap to move within one appearance of all-time record-holder Jason Leonard.
Harlequins utility back Joe Marchant has overcome a recnt bout of Covid-19 and will line up on the left wing, while Saracens speedster Max Malins has been allocated the No. 14 jersey.
There's also a surprise start for Northampton Saints captain Lewis Ludlam at blindside flanker, while Maro Itoje will partner Saracens team-mate Nick Isiekwe at lock.
"As the first game, this match is hugely important to both sides and we will both want to get off to a winning start," said Jones at Thursday's team announcement.
"We have a good, young team but we understand the task ahead and we’ll be ready to go after it from the first kick.
"Tom Curry will captain the side for this game and has the respect of the team around him, in Owen and Courtney’s absence. He also has the support of the vice captains and other leaders in the team such as Maro Itoje and Ben Youngs.
"We have prepared really well for this game. We’ve had a number of obstacles thrown at us, but we’ve overcome them as a more together group and we’re looking forward to getting started."
Isiekwe's call to start is perhaps one of the biggest squad surprised considering he was initially called into the squad as cover for Lawes and is now set to earn his first cap since June 2018.
The Sarries second row has jumped ahead of Bath's Charlie Ewels to start while Jonny Hill continues his recovery from a foot injury, with Jones presumably hoping his familiarity with club team-mate Itoje will pay dividends.
George Ford is also in line for a long-awaited return to the international fray almost a year after winning his 77th and most recent cap, while Bristol's Harry Randall will provide cover for Youngs.
Scotland defeated England at Twickenham for the first time since 1983 last year, edging a narrow 11-6 result as Jones' went on to finish an all-time joint-worst fifth in the table.
That 1983/84 period also happened to be the last time the Scots sealed successive wins over their neighbours to the south, a daunting omen for England ahead of their trip north.
(Backs) Freddie Steward, Max Malins, Elliot Daly, Henry Slade, Joe Marchant; Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs; (Forwards) Ellis Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Kyle Sinckler; Maro Itoje, Nick Isiekwe; Lewis Ludlam, Tom Curry (c), Sam Simmonds
Reps: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Alex Dombrandt, Harry Randall, George Ford, Jack Nowell
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