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Thursday Aug 24, 2023

Jonny May to start as England release team for final World Cup match against Fiji

Steve Borthwick has announced the final England lineup before they head over to France for the World Cup. England are due to welcome Fiji to Twickenham on Saturday as they test out their strongest squad ahead of the competition.

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Fiji will not be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, with the Pacific Islanders heading to the game off the back of a well fought, but unfortunate loss against tournament hosts France last week.

 

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There is a surprising return for England flyer Jonny May as he settles in on the wing outside of thumping centres, Manu Tuilagi and Ollie Lawrence. Max Malins and Freddie Steward make up the rest of the back three.

Sale Sharks halfback George Ford and Northampton scrum half Alex Mitchell get the nod with Harlequins duo Marcus Smith and Danny Care taking their place on the bench.

Ben Earl take the sizeable place of Billy Vunipola as he takes some time off following his 3 match ban, as Jack Willis steps in to partner Courtney Lawes on the flank.

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Ollie Chessum finds himself alongside the experience Maro Itoje in the locks, whilst Theo Dan makes an exciting start in a front row also consisting of former Leicester partners Ellis Genge and Dan Cole.

England head coach Steve Borthwick had the following to say about his team selection:

“After another eventful and dramatic encounter against the number one team in the world in Dublin last weekend, we are delighted to be back at Twickenham with our home supporters to welcome an in-form Fiji team.

“All of the Summer Nations Series Test matches have provided us with an opportunity to continue our preparations for the Rugby World Cup in France. Fiji have proven themselves to be a strong opposition and we look forward to what we expect to be an exciting and challenging game. Rest assured that we will be looking to convert the opportunities we have recently been creating week-on-week into points on the scoreboard.

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“At this our last Test before heading to France, I want to thank our fans for all the support you continue to give us, and it means a lot to us that you will be behind us all the way on our World Cup journey.”

Regarding Courtney Lawes reaching 100 caps, Borthwick said: “We couldn’t be prouder of Courtney on achieving his incredible milestone after 14 years of excellent performances for his country.

“It has been a privilege to watch his journey and witness him develop into a truly outstanding rugby player.

“Not only is Courtney an exceptional talent and an excellent professional, he is also a brilliant role model for young players every time he steps onto the field.”

Starting Team:

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 25 caps)
14. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 20 caps)
13. Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 52 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 72 caps)
10. George Ford – vice-captain (Sale Sharks, 84 caps)
9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
1. Ellis Genge – vice-captain (Bristol Bears, 51 caps)
2. Theo Dan (Saracens, 2 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 101 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 69 caps)
5. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)
6. Courtney Lawes – captain (Northampton Saints, 99 caps)
7. Jack Willis (Toulouse, 12 caps)
8. Ben Earl (Saracens, 17 caps)

Replacements:
16. Jack Walker (Harlequins, 3 caps)
17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 81 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 28 caps)
19. David Ribbans (Toulon, 7 caps)
20. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 20 caps)
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 89 caps)
22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 23 caps)
23. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais, 18 caps)

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