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Freddie returns as England change three for Bok duel

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Freddie Steward was recalled at fullback as England coach Steve Borthwick made three changes to the team to play South Africa in the World Cup semifinal in Paris on Saturday.

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Steward was a surprise omission for the quarterfinal against Fiji, which England won 30-24, Borthwick instead plumping for specialist flyhalf Marcus Smith in the No.15 jersey.

Smith misses out on the matchday 23 altogether.

“After an excellent few days’ preparation in Paris, we look forward to the challenge of playing the world champions and number one-ranked team in the world,” said Borthwick.

“Through this tournament the team has progressed, with the players repeatedly finding a way to win, sometimes in challenging circumstances. We will once again need to be at our very best this weekend as we face an excellent team in South Africa.

“There is no doubt the players will truly relish the challenge of knockout rugby under the lights in Paris.

“These players will, as they have done in every game of this tournament, give absolutely everything in the semi-final to get the result we want.”

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Owen Farrell will again skipper the side from flyhalf, with Alex Mitchell completing the halfbacks while Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant continue in midfield.

Elsewhere the side features two other changes, lock George Martin and prop Joe Marler starting in place of Ollie Chessum and Ellis Genge, who both drop to the replacements bench.

Wings Elliot Daly and Jonny May complete the back three alongside Steward.

In the front row, Marler starts at loosehead prop alongside Jamie George at hooker and Dan Cole at tighthead.

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Maro Itoje and Martin are in the second row with Courtney Lawes on the blindside flank, Tom Curry on the openside and Ben Earl at No.8.

Theo Dan, Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Chessum and Billy Vunipola provide forwards cover, while Danny Care, George Ford and Ollie Lawrence are the backs’ replacements.

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Jonny May, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 George Martin, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Ollie Chessum, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Danny Care, 22 George Ford, 23 Ollie Lawrence.

Date: Saturday, October 21
Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT; 20.00 UK & Ireland time; 21.00 SAST)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

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