England revive Ford-Farrell axis for Samoa game

6 months ago 141

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Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille Date: Saturday, 7 October Kick-off: 16:45 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app

George Ford and Owen Farrell will start together as fly-half and inside centre for the first time since March 2021 when England take on Samoa on Saturday.

Their partnership, a key part of the run to the 2019 Rugby World Cup final, has been disrupted by injury and Marcus Smith's emergence as a Test player.

Manu Tuilagi is outside Farrell at 13, while Ben Earl retains his place at number eight ahead of Billy Vunipola.

Joe Marchant is on the wing, with Jonny May and Freddie Steward also in the XV.

Tom Curry returns from suspension to start at flanker but Henry Arundell, who scored five tries in England's most recent victory over Chile, is not included in Steve Borthwick's matchday squad of 23.

England have already confirmed a quarter-final place as Pool D winners after winning their first three group matches.

England starting XV to face Samoa: Steward; Marchant, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), May; Ford, Mitchell; Genge, George, Cole, Itoje, Chessum, Lawes, Curry, Earl.

Replacements: Dan, Marler, Sinckler, Martin, Vunipola, Care, Smith, Lawrence.

More to follow.

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