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England fans on Ford's exclusion


England fans have their say on the benching of Ford

Eddie Jones has named his England side to face Australia this Saturday in the World Cup quarter-final and it is a case of turning to what he is most comfortable with. 

Mako Vunipola makes his first start since the Six Nations but the most noticeable decision is to drop George Ford and instead use the 10-12-13 combination of Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade that served England so well during the Six Nations this year. This is a decision that has disappointed fans on social media but is not all that surprising. 

Jones reprised the Ford-Farrell axis throughout August and the opening stages of the RWC in Slade’s absence and it looked as though Ford had done enough to warrant a starting berth in the big games. 

The Leicester Tigers flyhalf has had England’s backline firing, has scored a few tries himself and has shown a masterful tactical kicking game. Although he was not always playing against the highest level opposition, his performance against Argentina was good enough that many would have expected him to start against the Wallabies. 

Many fans have pointed out that Ford offers more as a playmaker than Farrell, but the Saracen is more defensively resolute and with Tuilagi at 12, it is a good way to shut down the dangerous Samu Kerevi. 

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Tuilagi has proven that he is more potent as a 13, but has equally shown that he has a successful partnership with Slade, which is why Ford has lost out to accommodate Farrell at ten. 

It surely came down to very fine margins when selecting the centres and Jones may have simply felt that this was the best combination to face Australia, but some fans have said this has shades of Stuart Lancaster’s selection in 2015. 

When the pressure was on the England team, Lancaster reverted to Farrell to start and used Ford as a luxury from the bench.

This is something that Jones has also done during his tenure, but he stressed the importance of Ford’s role as a finisher. He said: “We have a starting and a finishing team so he’s going to finish for us instead of starting. I spoke to him this morning and obviously he’s disappointed but he knows his role in the team.”

It is for this reason that some fans are not wholly surprised with this decision, as it is something that Ford has had to contend with throughout his England career. This is what has been said: 

Over the past seven years, Farrell has proven himself to be one of England’s, and indeed world rugby’s most dependable players. 

He had an unusually poor game against Argentina with the boot but with more pressure, his performances only improve. Jones and all England fans will hope that is the case this Saturday in Oita. 

WATCH: What fans coming to Oita can expect at night during the World Cup quarter-finals 

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England fans have their say on the benching of Ford
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