England v Chile - Teams and Prediction
WORLD CUP, ROUND THREE: Former winners England face Chile for the first time in the World Cup on Saturday with all eyes on the returning Owen Farrell.
Captain Farrell, 31, has been suspended since last month’s warm-up victory over Wales and the flyhalf watched on from the stands as England beat Argentina and Japan to go top of Pool D at the tournament.
A victory in northern France on Saturday will almost guarantee a quarterfinal spot for a side who were heavily criticised before the competition.
“I wouldn’t describe myself as a good watcher,” Farrell said on Thursday.
“I feel involved, like I’m out there at times, I feel every emotion that goes with it. Sometimes a bit more so than if I was playing.”
Farrell takes over the playmaking duties from George Ford who kicked a hat-trick of drop goals in the win over the Pumas.
“Everyone was practising them from halfway after that first game,” Farrell jokingly said.
England coach Steve Borthwick has made 12 changes to his team, which include handing Marcus Smith his first start at fullback, against the lowest-ranked side in the World Cup.
“Marcus is a fantastic player,” Farrell said.
“Everyone knows what a talent he is. Hopefully, we can link up, get each other involved in the game.”
Despite the two early successes, England have been slammed for their lack of creativity with ball in hand.
They have also kicked the ball more often than any other outfit in the World Cup.
“I get the passion that the crowd brings, I get the will that they want us to do well,” added Farrell who will celebrate his 32nd birthday on Sunday.
“The team has done unbelievably well to find ways to win Test matches, to find ways to close out games, to dominate at times in period,” he added.
Directly facing Farrell this weekend will be Chile flyhalf Rodrigo Fernandez, who scored a superb solo try against the USA during qualifying.
“I think he’s a great player,” Fernadez said of Farrell.
“He comes back with a lot of desire to play. I have so much respect for him, it’s a huge challenge for me to go against him.”
Chile head coach Pablo Lemoine, who spent time as a player with Bristol more than 20 years ago, has made nine changes to his team.
He has an eye on the next World Cup having guided Los Condores to their first appearance in the tournament.
Chile have lost twice so far, to Japan and Samoa, having conceded 85 points but they have gained a lot of respect for their attacking mentality.
“We are in a World Cup but we are still working for the next four years,” former Uruguay prop Lemoine said.
“We have to give the youngsters some experience at that level.
“We want to give them a chance, and a chance to play against a Tier 1 country.”
Key Talking point:
England’s playing style in France. Their two wins to date have not exactly set the rugby world alight. They’ve been pragmatic and effective, but hardly exciting. This is tournament rugby, and wins of any kind are much more useful than thrilling, edge-of-the-seat defeats. Even so, expect the 2019 finalists to look to put on more of a show here.
@rugby365com: England by 45 points
England: 15 Marcus Smith, 14 Henry Arundell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Max Malins, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Danny Care, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 George Martin, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Theo Dan, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Ollie Chessum, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 George Ford, 23 Joe Marchant
Chile: 15 Francisco Urroz; 14 Cristobal Game, 13 Domingo Saavedra, 12 Matias Garafulic, 11 Franco Velarde; 10 Rodrigo Fernandez, 9 Benjamin Videla; 8 Alfonso Escobar, 7 Ignacio Silva, 6 Martin Sigren (captain); 5 Javier Eismann, 4 Clemente Saavedra; 3 Matias Dittus, 2 Augusto Bohme, 1 Salvador Lues
Replacements: 16 Tomas Dussaillant, 17 Vittorio Lastra, 18 Inaki Gurruchaga, 19 Pablo Huete, 20 Thomas Orchard, 21 Raimundo Martinez, 22 Lukas Carvallo, 23 Inaki Ayarza
Date: Saturday, September, 23
Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Kick-off: 17.45 (15.45 GMT, 12.45 CLST)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Pierre Brousset (France), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)