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England tweaks for Japan

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Head coach Steve Borthwick has named his England team to play Japan in their second pool match of World Cup 2023 at Stade de Nice.

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Courtney Lawes will captain an England side with three changes to the starting XV that defeated Argentina 27-10 at Stade de Marseille last Saturday. George Ford and Ellis Genge are named as vice-captains.

In the front row, Kyle Sinckler returns to the side at tighthead prop and is joined by Jamie George at hooker and Joe Marler on the loosehead.

Elsewhere in the pack, the second row pairing of Maro Itoje and Ollie Chessum is unchanged. Lewis Ludlam starts his first game of the World Cup 2023 at No.8 having come off the bench last weekend in Marseille. Captain Lawes is named at blindside flank and Ben Earl moves to the openside to complete the back row.

In an unchanged back line, scrumhalf Alex Mitchell lines up alongside last weekend’s player of the match Ford at flyhalf. In midfield, inside centre Manu Tuilagi partners Joe Marchant at 13 and in the back three, Jonny May is named on the right wing with Elliot Daly on the left and Freddie Steward at fullback.

Amongst the replacements, England’s most capped player Ben Youngs returns to the match-day 23 to play his fifteenth World Cup match. He is joined on the bench by Billy Vunipola, free to play having served a two-match suspension and Theo Dan, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, George Martin, Marcus Smith and Ollie Lawrence.

“It was both pleasing and important that we were able to start our World Cup campaign with a good win against Argentina last Saturday,” said Borthwick.

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“It was incredible to see so many of our supporters in the stadium in Marseille. Their support means a great deal to the team. We hope that we were able to provide the supporters both here in France and at home with some great memories, and we are setting out to do the same again this Sunday in Nice.

“After another good week’s preparation in Le Touquet, we are looking forward to the challenge of playing a Japan side that will be full of confidence following their comprehensive win over Chile in their opening fixture of the competition.”

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Jonny May, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Lewis Ludlam, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Courtney Lawes (Captain), 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie Goerge, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Ollie Lawrence.

Date: Sunday, September 17
Venue: Stade de Nice, Nice
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT; 20.00 UK and Ireland time; 04.00 Monday, September 18 JST)
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (Australia) & Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)

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