TOKYO – Fly-half George Ford has been recalled to the England team to face New Zealand in the semi-final in Yokohama on Saturday.
England coach Eddie Jones has made just one change to the team that defeated Australia in the quarter-final, with Ford, above, brought back to steer the attacking ship.
With New Zealand offering a different threat in midfield to the Wallabies, Jones has taken the opportunity to bring back Ford, England’s most consistent player in the tournament, believing the fly-half’s lighter frame will not create an avenue for the All Blacks to attack.
It means captain Owen Farrell, who kicked eight successive goals against the Wallabies, moves to inside-centre alongside Manu Tuilagi, with Henry Slade dropping down to the replacements.
In the pack, tough-tackling Courtney Lawes has held off the challenge of George Kruis, who is recognised as England’s best lineout technician. The Saracens forward’s skills will be needed at some stage against an All Blacks side that will have a significant height advantage having picked Scott Barrett, normally a second-row, at blindside flanker.
Mark Wilson, who has spent most of the tournament providing training opposition for the starting 23, is chosen amongst the replacements instead of Lewis Ludlam, while number eight Billy Vunipola will win his 50th cap.
New Zealand have brought Scott Barrett into the starting line-up to take on England in the first semi-final of Rugby World Cup 2019 at International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday.
Barrett, who has scored two tries at RWC 2019, came on at half-time in the quarter-final against Ireland in place of Sam Cane and made an impressive contribution. Cane moves to the bench against England in the only change to the starting team that recorded a comprehensive 46-14 win in the quarter-final.
Ardie Savea moves to openside flanker for Barrett – who at 1.97m will offer another lineout option for New Zealand in this match – to take his place at six.
New Zealand captain Kieran Read has overcome a calf injury to take his usual number eight spot and earn his 126th cap, while Patrick Tuipulotu comes on to the bench as a second-row option in place of Matt Todd, who misses with a shoulder injury.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was keen to single out Codie Taylor, who will play his 50th test match for New Zealand on Saturday.
“On behalf of players and management we congratulate Codie on reaching this special milestone,” Hansen said. “You couldn’t ask for a better occasion to mark this. Let’s hope the game lives up to the expectations that both teams will have and is one for the ages.”
🏴 ENGLAND RWC 2019 RESULTS
W – England 35-3 Tonga
W – England 45-7 USA
W – England 39-10 Argentina
England 0-0 France (Match Cancelled)
W – England 40-16 Australia
🇳🇿 NEW ZEALAND RWC 2019 RESULTS
W – New Zealand 23-13 South Africa
W – New Zealand 71-9 Namibia
W – New Zealand 63-0 Canada
New Zealand 0-0 Italy (Match Cancelled)
W – New Zealand 46-14 Ireland
RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED
ENG (on 89.74 points) 🏴 vs 🇳🇿 NZL (on 92.47 points) in a RWC match
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|If ENG win by 1-15 points||2.546||92.29||89.92||Yes|
|If ENG win by more than 15||3.819||93.56||88.65||Yes|
|If result is a draw||0.546||90.29||91.92||No|
|If NZL win by 1-15 points||1.454||88.29||93.92||No|
|If NZL win by more than 15||2.181||87.56||94.65||No|
1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Tom Curry, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Billy Vunipola, 9 Ben Youngs, 10 George Ford, 11 Jonny May, 12 Owen Farrell (capt.), 13 Manu Tuilagi, 14 Anthony Watson, 15 Elliot Daly
Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jonathan Joseph
🇳🇿 NEW ZEALAND
1 Joe Moody, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Scott Barrett, 7 Ardie Savea, 8 Kieran Read (capt.), 9 Aaron Smith, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 11 George Bridge, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 13 Jack Goodhue, 14 Sevu Reece, 15 Beauden Barrett
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tu’ipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Jordie Barrett
Date: Saturday, October 26
Kick-Off: 17:00 local
Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France) & Romain Poite (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)