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Three players who boosted their World Cup hopes as England toiled against Wales

By PA
Joe Cokanasiga (PA)

England’s experimental side tumbled to a 20-9 defeat by Wales at the Principality Stadium in the opening match of their warm-up schedule for the World Cup.

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The only Test to take place before head coach Steve Borthwick names his 33-man squad for the tournament on Monday, it was seen as the stage to influence the handful of remaining selection calls.

Few emerged with credit from the contest, but here the PA news agency looks at three players who gave Borthwick a timely nudge.

Points Flow Chart

Wales win +11
Time in lead
34
Mins in lead
25
42%
% Of Game In Lead
31%
14%
Possession Last 10 min
86%
0
Points Last 10 min
0

Lewis Ludlam
England’s most effective forward in Cardiff by a significant margin, carrying with intent and disruptive at the breakdown. Started at blindside flanker against Wales but covers all three back-row positions, including number eight where Alex Dombrandt once again proved unable to stamp his authority on a Test. Factor in his leadership and defensive steel and the Northampton captain could be a valuable asset at the World Cup, having travelled to Japan four years ago as a bolter.

Joe Marchant
Of all England’s players on display at the Principality Stadium, it was Marchant who seized the opportunity to show Borthwick why he should be included in the squad announced on Monday. The dynamic 27-year-old provided pace and sharp running lines to an attack that showed signs of life in the first half before crumbling amid a host of handling errors. Marchant’s 16 caps have largely been hit and miss, but he offers something different and covers wing as well as centre.

Joe Cokanasiga
Although hardly a stellar display, there was enough on show from Cokanasiga to suggest he could make an impact at the World Cup. The Bath wing of Fijian heritage hunted for the ball and punched holes in the home defence and while his rugby instincts may fail to match his athleticism, his power would be an X-factor asset to England’s backline. Vulnerable defensively at times and can be targeted with a clever kicking game, but his key tackle on Louis Rees-Zammit was an important moment.

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