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England team shows one change

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England make one change for the semi-final and it is potentially massive

England head coach Eddie Jones has named his team to play New Zealand on Saturday in the World Cup semi-final at Yokohama. 

Captain Owen Farrell is named at inside centre with the recalled George Ford selected at fly-half and Manu Tuilagi at outside centre. Ford was named on the bench for the last-eight rout of Australia but will now act as playmaker in chief for the biggest match of the Jones era.

Midfielder Henry Slade, who started against Australia in the quarter-final, steps down to the bench to accommodate Ford’s return. An additional change to the replacements sees Mark Wilson given the opportunity to add to his solitary World Cup appearance against the USA after dislodging Lewis Ludlam.

Billy Vunipola will play in his 50th Test match for England with Sam Underhill and Tom Curry also named in the back row.

Jonny May has recovered from the hamstring problem sustained against Australia to start on the left wing with Anthony Watson named on the right and Elliot Daly at full-back. Jack Nowell has been unable to shake off the same injury and so misses out.

(Continue reading below…)

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Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes are named in the second row while Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler make up the front row.

Jones said: “Preparation has been good this week after a solid win against Australia. When you get to this stage of the World Cup it is all about focusing on being in the moment and getting yourself physically right.

“The squad has approached the game well with real maturity. It has helped having players here who have been on the Lions tour and played against New Zealand. They have been involved in some of the biggest games in world rugby so this semi-final won’t phase them.

“New Zealand is a great team, they have an impressive winning record since the last Rugby World Cup. Like any good team, you have got to take away time and space from them you have to find areas you can pressure them. We believe we have identified a number of areas where we can do that.”

Jones added on Vunipola’s 50th cap: “It is a great achievement for Billy to reach 50 Test matches for England and something that is very special for the team. I know his family will be very proud of him and even more so to play the game alongside his brother Mako.”

ENGLAND STARTING XV

15 Elliot Daly (Saracens, 37 caps)

14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 40 caps)

13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 38 caps)

12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 77 caps) C

11 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 50 caps)

10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 63 caps)

9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 93 caps)

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 56 caps)

2 Jamie George (Saracens, 43 caps)

3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 29 caps)

4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 32 caps)

5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 79 caps)

6 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 17 caps)

7 Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)

8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 49 caps)

Finishers

16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 19 caps)

17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 66 caps)

18 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 93 caps)

19 George Kruis (Saracens, 39 caps)

20 Mark Wilson (Sale Sharks 16 caps)

21 Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 8 caps)

22 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 25 caps)

23 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 45 caps)

WATCH: Former England international Neil Back sits down with RugbyPass in the opening episode of Rugby World Cup Memories  

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England make one change for the semi-final and it is potentially massive