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One new cap named to start in England team showing 10 changes

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

Steve Borthwick has confirmed his England team to face Wales this Saturday, a Summer Nations Series selection that shows 10 changes to the starting XV that lost to Ireland in their most recent outing and includes a debut for back-rower Tom Pearson.

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That 16-29 defeat 20 weeks ago in Dublin brought the curtain down on the new Test-level head coach’s first campaign in charge and with 41 players in camp (plus two more with them in injury rehab) ahead of next Monday’s announcement of the official 33 for the Rugby World Cup in France, Borthwick has opted to examine his squad’s depth ahead of that final cut after a summer where 61 players auditioned for inclusion.

Freddie Steward, Ellis Genge, David Ribbans, Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt are the five repeat picks from Dublin. Meanwhile, along with starting newcomer Pearson, hooker Theo Dan and back-rower Tom Willis are in line for Test debuts from the bench.

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England World Cup kit

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England World Cup kit

Skipper Genge will pack down in a front row with Jamie Blamire and Will Stuart, with Ribbans partnering George Martin at second row. Pearson makes the back row along with Ludlam and Dombrandt, who will have Harlequins half-backs supporting him in the guise of Danny Care and Marcus Smith.

Guy Porter and Joe Marchant are the midfield, with full-back Steward joined in the back three by wingers Joe Cokanasiga and Malins. Aside from rookies Dan and Willis, the bench also includes Bevan Rodd, Kyle Sinckler, Jonny Hill, Jack van Poortvliet, George Ford and Henry Slade.

Borthwick said: “England versus Wales in Cardiff is always an exciting and keenly contested fixture. I’m sure this Saturday will be no different as a tremendous first Test match of the Summer Nations Series.

“We have been impressed with how the whole squad has applied itself both on and off the field over this training camp. We are now looking forward to returning to Test match rugby as we continue our preparations for the Rugby World Cup in France.”

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England (vs Wales, Saturday – 5:30pm)
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps)
14. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 18 caps)
13. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais, 15 caps)
12. Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 4 caps)
11. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 21 caps)
9. Danny Care (Harlequins, 87 caps)
1. Ellis Genge © (Bristol Bears, 48 caps)
2. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 6 caps)
3. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)
4. David Ribbans (Toulon, 5 caps)
5. George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
6. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 19 caps)
7. Tom Pearson (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
8. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 14 caps)

Replacements:
16. Theo Dan (Saracens, uncapped)
17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
18. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 61 caps)
19. Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)
20. Tom Willis (Saracens, uncapped)
21. Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps)
22. George Ford (Sale Sharks, 81 caps)
23. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 56 caps)

Fixture
Internationals
Wales
20 - 9
Full-time
England
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Comments

9 Comments
I
Ian 347 days ago

....when did Bevan Rodd rejoin the squad after being left out with Underhill a few weeks back? Would've liked to see Val R-R on the bench

f
finn 347 days ago

Really excited by this team.

My only concerns are:
1) I'm not really sure if England have a good secondary playmaker. Farrell at 12 is always an option, but leaves us defensively weak. Slade is perhaps a better option, but he's not been in form for a while. In this line-up it looks like we don't have a second playmaker, unless Malins or Porter can play that role?
2) I worry a bit about a lack of physicality in the second and back row. Ribbans and Martin are both great players, but neither is a classic tighthead lock, and Ludlam almost exclusively plays 7 for his club. I'd be a lot more confident if we had Hill at 5, and Lawes or Martin at 6.

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William 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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