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England change 14, revive their 10/12/13 2019 World Cup combination

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England boss Steve Borthwick has retained just a single starter – skipper Owen Farrell – from the Rugby World Cup win over Chile for this Saturday’s Pool D finale versus Samoa in Lille.

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The English were runaway 71-0 winners last time out on September 23, with the head coach using that fixture as his opportunity to blood the seven players from his squad of 33 that hadn’t featured in either of the opening two wins over Argentina and Japan. That included the return of skipper Farrell after his four-game suspension.

With England since declared pool winners and set to play an October 15 quarter-final in Marseille against most likely Fiji, Borthwick has shaken up selection, handing a recall to Tom Curry – who is now over his own two-game red card ban – and only sticking with Farrell from the XV versus the Chileans.

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Even at that, Farrell, who needs just two points to become England’s all-time leading points scorer ahead of Jonny Wilkinson’s tally of 1,179, will wear a different shirt on this occasion, slotting into the No12 jersey.

With George Ford chosen at out-half and Manu Tuilagi at outside centre, the selection is a revival of the 10/12/13 combination that took England all the way to the Rugby World Cup final in 2019 when Borthwick was assistant coach to Eddie Jones in Japan.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

2
Wins
2
2
Streak
2
11
Tries Scored
14
26
Points Difference
-4
1/5
First Try
2/5
1/5
First Points
2/5
0/5
Race To 10 Points
2/5

There is no place in the match day 23 for Henry Arundell, despite his five tries versus Chile, while Marcus Smith, the starting full-back the last day, has to settle for a place on the bench.

Freddie Steward is the chosen No15, with Joe Marchant and Jonny May on the wings. Tuilagi and Farrell form the midfield with Ford partnering Alex Mitchell at half-back.

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In the pack, the front row consists of Ellis Genge, Jamie George and Dan Cole, with Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum at second row. Courtney Lawes, Curry and Ben Earl are the starting back row with Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, George Martin and Billy Vunipola the five forwards named on the bench.

Smith is one of three backline reserves, along with Danny Care and Ollie Lawrence. Borthwick said: “Whilst we are of course pleased with our results and qualification into the pool stages, we want to continue our improvement with a positive performance against a difficult and in-form Samoa team.

“Samoa are renowned for their physicality and this last game in the pool stages will be an excellent test for us as we continue in our Rugby World Cup journey.

“We are delighted to be heading back to Lille for this weekend’s fixture where we enjoyed seeing so many England supporters for our last match. Once again, we look forward to seeing a sea of white England shirts in the stands of the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday.”

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England (vs Samoa, Lille: Saturday, 5:45pm local)
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 28 caps)
14. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais, 22 caps)
13. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 55 caps)
12. Owen Farrell – captain (Saracens, 108 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 75 caps)
10. George Ford – vice-captain (Sale Sharks, 88 caps)
9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 8 caps)
1. Ellis Genge – vice-captain (Bristol Bears, 54 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 81 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 103 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 72 caps)
5. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)
6. Courtney Lawes – vice-captain (Northampton Saints, 102 caps)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 46 caps)
8. Ben Earl (Saracens, 21 caps)

Replacements:
16. Theo Dan (Saracens, 6 caps)
17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 85 caps)
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 65 caps)
19. George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps)
20. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 72 caps)
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 92 caps)
22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 27 caps)
23. Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 17 caps)

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