The opening half George Ford, the great architect of England's victorious entry into the 2023 World Cup, was renewed to face Japan on Sunday in Nice, according to the team composition revealed on Friday, which only includes three changes. Author of his team's 27 points against Argentina (27-10), including three decisive drops, Ford was again preferred to Marcus Smith in the absence of the usual captain Owen Farrell, of whom it will be the last match of suspension.
England coach Steve Borthwick has renewed his confidence in the vast majority of the Pumas winners, with the exception of pillars Dan Cole and Ellis Genge, respectively replaced by Kyle Sinckler and Dan Cole in the starting XV. “We are lucky to have several top players in this position,” Borthwick said during a press conference at the Mouratoglou tennis academy, near Antibes, specifying that Sinckler was not yet at 100% physically for the first match.
The former Leicester coach believes he has the same “spoilt for choice” in the third row, where he preferred Lewis Ludlam to Billy Vunipola to take the place of Tom Curry, suspended after being sent off in the 3rd minute last weekend . “Lewis made a very good start in Marseille (against Argentina),” explained Borthwick, who hopes to count on the physical impact of Vunipola at the end of the match, returning from his own suspension. The powerful third center line will sit on the bench alongside Ben Youngs, this time chosen rather than Danny Care to understudy Alex Mitchell, surprise starter against the Pumas and again associated with Ford.
Steward - May, Marchant, Tuilagi, Daly - (o) Ford, (m) Mitchell - Earl, Ludlam, Lawes (cap.) - Chessum, Itoje - Sinckler, George, Marler
Substitutes: Dan, Genge, Stuart, Martin, Vunipola, Youngs, Smith, Lawrence